The idea for the Toowoomba Japanese Gardens stemmed from a group of Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education academics, namely Dr Adrian Allen who developed the Asian Studies program for the institute and wanted to offer their students an experience that would bring them closer to Asia, but without having to travel there.
The designing and planing of the gardens commenced in 1980 as a joint venture between the institute and the Toowoomba City Council.
The project engaged the assistance of Japanese professor Kinsaku Nakane from Kyoto, Japan to help design the garden who also named it ‘Ju Raku En’ which loosely translates ’to enjoy peace and longevity in a public place’
It took approximately three years for the planning and design phase before construction finally commenced in 1983. It then took another six years to construct the garden, when it was finally opened in the 21st April 1989 by Mr Uoshiharu Araki (Brisbane’s Consul-General of Japan at the time).
The Garden is located on a three hectare site at the University of Southern Queensland, and is one of Australia’s largest Japanese Gardens and ranks within the top 25 gardens outside of Japan. The garden has close to 100,000 visitors per year.
Even though the Toowoomba Japanese Garden is over 25 years old it is far from mature, and will continue to develop in years to come.
The garden has many features of a traditional Japanese Garden including pathways stretching approximately three kilometers, a mountain stream, waterfall, central lake, blossom trees, multiple bridges, Japanese maple trees, a dry garden (also known as a Zen Garden, called a dry garden because it needs little or no water), and viewing platforms to admire the area.
Like many parks and gardens within Toowoomba, the Japanese Gardens is a popular venue for wedding ceremonies, and the garden does have a car park and conference facilities.
The garden is located at 20 Regent St, Darling Heights QLD 4350 (4Km south of the city centre)
Council web site: Japanese Gardens