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It has been described as an oasis in the middle of the rustic Texan environment, and is home to an exuberant variety of plant life that will transport you and your family to distant and exotic lands.

Along with the San Antonio Zoo, the Witte Museum, the Sunken Garden Theater and many other attractions, it is an essential part of the famous (and huge) Backenridge Park in San Antonio.

It is filled with breathtaking vistas, soothing waterfalls, beautifully crafted bridges, and stunningly large Koi Pond. Tourists and locals enjoy taking long strolls in the park, and describe it as a wholesome Zen experience.

It will certainly take your breath away the moment you peek into it. Being located in an old quarry, gives the garden very unique traits. It is actually sunk into the digging site, creating a perimeter from which you can see the park in its awe-inspiring entirety.

But the vistas is not the only attraction of this park. Its winding stone paths are crafted following strange patterns that invite you to discover something entirely different every time you walk them. The inner area contains beautiful pagodas, statues and lanterns, while the outer rim offers more intimate spaces of reflection and even hidden secrets only known by locals.

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History

Like its beautiful paths, the history of the Japanese Tea Garden is full of twists and turns. The current location was once a rich limestone quarry, first exploited by German masons by the mid-19th century. The great Menger Hotel was built with the stone extracted from it.

The land donated to be part of a large recreational park sat right beside the hole left by the mining activity. This scarred piece of land proved to be a challenge for city, until a City Parks Commissioner had the idea of turning it into an Oriental themed garden.

The beautiful park did not have a glamorous origin, and it certainly was tarnished by the fact that its first stones were placed by forced labor from prison camps. However, as its oriental identity was starting to show, and pagodas, winding paths, ponds, stone bridges and even a delicately crafted Torii gate took form, they decided to invite an artisan Japanese family to live in the park and take care of it. That´s how the famed Jingu family took care of the garden, opened the Bamboo Room and raised their children surrounded by the serene and exotic environment.

The family was evicted (and locked in internment camps) after the Pearl Harbor attacks due to the generalized anti-Japanese sentiment. It was also renamed The Chinese Tea Garden for the same reason. However, later on, they honored the parks tradition by changing the name back and starting a renovation effort that still continues to this day.

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Events

The tranquil nature of the garden offers unique settings for musical events. You can often sit and watch jazz bands and trios who take advantage of the sonic properties of this ancient quarry. There are also yoga classes and craft shops based in eastern traditions.

The Japanese Tea garden is also a favorite among engaged couples. There are many wedding ceremonies taking place in various locations inside the garden, depending on the level of privacy desired. For really intimate events, the waterfalls offer stunning and serene locations with an unrivalled sense of closeness. But you can see couples tying the knot in front of crowds of up to 50 of their closest friends in the central Pavillion.

The San Antonio Museum of Art is an art museum in Downtown San Antonio, Texas located at 200 W. Jones Avenue.