Night Al Migrations: Japanese Tea Garden


Louis and I recently visited the Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio, which is something I’ve been wanting to do since we moved here. It has been here since the late 1800s first serving as a limestone quarry and eventually transforming into the beautiful garden it is today.

The entrance sign was changed to read “Chinese Tea Garden” during WWII due to the stigma against Japanese Americans at the time and was never changed back.

We were driving around exploring one Friday afternoon and conveniently wound up right by the Japanese Tea Garden. We parked by the San Antonio Zoo and strolled over to be greeted by beautiful stone structures and a winding vertical path leading to the garden.



At the top of the hill sits a tea room and café: The Jingu House. We followed the path up to see what laid on the other side of the tea room.


We weren’t expecting much, but I can honestly say the view took our breath away. At the top of the hill, the quarry opens up to a massive yet intimate area surrounding bridges, trails, waterfalls, and koi ponds. All I kept repeating was that it felt like a hidden oasis.


We climbed down from the top of the hill and found a shaded stone bench to enjoy the breeze and the view. It would have been the perfect spot to relax with a good book.


This stunning gazebo shaded us as we relaxed in our secluded spot. The pictures cannot do the beauty of the architecture and surroundings justice.


Once we had our fill of the view, we decided to climb down further into the quarry and admire the trails and koi ponds up close.



The pathways wound up and down showing off the various plant life and offering several different viewpoints to admire the sunken garden. There were scalloped bridges, winding stone walkways, and limestone steps.



After we walked the entire perimeter of the tea garden, one pathway led us up to a walkway lined by a canopy of trees. It was a truly dreamy spot that felt like something out of a storybook. This long, shaded path actually led all the way down to the San Antonio Zoo.


I was in heaven.


Once Louis was able to drag me away from the tree canopy, we walked along a unique wooden bridge to a private gazebo overlooking the original stone chimney from the early 1900s. It was a quiet, relaxing spot.


After we ventured back to the main sunken garden, Louis purchased a sweet strawberry hibiscus tea from The Jingu House. It was one of many delicious looking tea combinations.


Our adventure to the Japanese Tea Garden was an unexpected surprise. The entire area is a beautiful oasis of plants, ponds, and pathways that really felt like an escape from the city. I’m thankful San Antonio has made a conscious effort to preserve such an exquisite spot. If you want to explore the Japanese Tea Garden you’ll be happy to know it’s free! Also, I would try to visit on a weekday afternoon like we did to avoid any crowds and experience the garden in a more relaxing manner. We can’t wait to return!

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  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful place with us!!!! I want to visit there when we come to SA!!!!! It looks & sounds heavenly!!!! 💕

    1. Sounds like a plan! You know you’re always welcome! 🙂 I think the Henry (and eventually Hudson!) would love running along the pathways and watching the big koi fish swim around!

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