Opened to the
public in 1969, the Garden was built by Mr. Taniguchi
when he was seventy years old. Working without a salary
or a contract, Mr. Taniguchi spent 18 months transforming
3 acres of rugged caliche hillside into a peaceful garden.
As is often done in Japan, the ponds were designed in
the shape of a word or ideogram. In this case, the ponds
in the first half of the garden spell out the word "AUSTIN",
reflecting the fact that these gardens were constructed
as a gift to the city. The remains of the Mother Tree,
which inspired Mr. Taniguchi to complete his building
of the garden, overlooks the pond.
Togetsu-kyo bridge or "Bridge to Walk Over the Moon"
is theoretically positioned so that, when the moon is high,
it reflects in the water and follows you across the bridge.
The idea is that as you gaze at the reflection of the moon
on the water's surface, ultimate universal beauty will be
revealed to you.
The Japanese Teahouse
was a gift from the Heart O'Texas Orchid Society and affords
a beautiful view of the Austin skyline. The Japanese words
on the outside of the Teahouse are TEN-WA-JIN, literally meaning
"Heaven, Harmony and Man". In the context of the
garden, the words are meant to convey the message that man
exists in harmony with nature. Beneath the Teahouse, rock
retaining walls have been constructed which hold a collection
of different ornamental bamboo. The honeycomb rock lining
the pathways throughout the garden came from the Lake Travis
Stone Gates, dedicated in November 1999, were a gift from
our Sister City of Oita, Japan, symbolizing the "lasting
friendship" established between us.
The second pond,
which contains numerous koi and our own resident water snake,
is also symbolic. In designing it, Mr. Taniguchi envisioned
a boat, with a sail, a gangplank and an anchor and chain.
You can walk the gangplank to the boat. A large Wisteria forms
the sail and the stepping stones will lead you down the chain
There are several Japanese maples in the garden. Details here-