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Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden

Isamu Taniguchi with blooming lotusOpened to the public in 1969, the Garden was built by Isamu 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.

The 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.

Read one visitor's impressions of this garden, Taniguchi’s gift to the city of Austin

Japanese Teahouse Stone Gates

The Japanese Teahouse was a gift from the Heart O' Texas Orchid Society. A beautiful view of the Austin skyline may be seen from various points in the Taniguchi Garden. 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 area.

The Stone Gates, dedicated in November 1999, were a gift from our Sister City of Oita, Japan, symbolizing the "lasting friendship" established between us.

KoiThe 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 and anchor.

There are several Japanese maples in the garden. Details here-

Koi Koi


©Zilker Botanical Garden,
Austin Area Garden Council