The Japanese Tea Garden is a beautiful oasis tucked away in Brackenridge Park in the neighbourhood of Alamo Heights. The garden was initially created a century ago in an abandoned limestone rock quarry and is an official Texas historical landmark. Over the last 20 years, the park has been lovingly restored. With a Japanese pagoda-style pavilion, koi fish ponds, and flowery grounds, you'll feel like you've entered a different time and place.

The lush garden also features a 60-ft waterfall, charming stone bridges, and picturesque walkways. This is a magical spot to explore all year round – for a romantic post-dinner stroll or to have a picnic with friends and family. It's an exceptionally gorgeous spot for photos. With picture-perfect scenery and an enchanting atmosphere, a visit to the Japanese Tea Garden will be a highlight of your trip to San Antonio.

Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio - one of the highlights of 10 Best Free Things to Do in San Antonio and 10 Most Instagrammable Places in San Antonio (Read all about San Antonio here)

What are the highlights of the Japanese Tea Garden?

The Japanese Tea Garden is a beautiful hidden treasure right in the middle of San Antonio. If you've had a long and possibly exhausting day of sightseeing, the peaceful garden with patches of blue-green water lends itself to relaxation. Find a secluded spot and unwind, collect your thoughts, or catch up on some reading. The Jingu House serves various Asian dishes, salads, sandwiches, and teas in a delightfully serene setting if you get peckish.

After strolling through the whimsically landscaped garden, stopping to admire the flowers and exotic vegetation, climb to the top of the pagoda. You can enjoy lovely views of the garden below, from the koi ponds to the waterfall. The tea garden hosts complimentary events throughout the year, including yoga classes, meditation, and live jazz performances.

A brief history of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio

The history of the Japanese Tea Garden is intriguing and begins in 1917. City officials wanted to convert an old limestone quarry into a garden and lily pond. They began to transform the quarry into a Japanese-style sunken garden, adding winding walkways, stone arch bridges, and a pagoda using prison labour.

A few years later, local Japanese-American artist Kimi Eizo Jingu and his family were invited to be the caretakers. They lovingly maintained the garden and opened the Bamboo Room, where they served light lunches and tea. Sadly, the family was evicted during World War II in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack and anti-Japanese sentiment. And the garden was renamed the "Chinese Tea Garden". In 1984, the then-mayor rededicated the park as the "Japanese Tea Garden" during a ceremony attended by the remaining Jingu family.

Good to know about the Japanese Tea Garden

If you're visiting San Antonio on a budget, the Japanese Tea Garden offers free admission. And on a hot day, the garden and its shady pathways are a great place to escape the Texan heat. During a visit to the tea garden, you can also see several top tourist sights nearby. These include the lush Brackenridge Park with miles of walking trails, the San Antonio Zoo, and the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.

Bordering Brackenridge Park are the Witte and DoSeum Museums. Both feature fabulous science and history exhibits fit for kids and adults alike. To reach the Japanese Tea Garden from Downtown San Antonio, you can drive, use a ride-sharing service, or take bus route 8.

Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio

Location: Brackenridge Park, Mary's, 3853 N St Mary's St, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA

Open: Daily from 7 am to 5 pm

Phone: +1 210-559-3148

Jacqui de Klerk | Contributing Writer