The Japanese Gardens in Toowoomba is next to the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), and is jointly owned by USQ and Toowoomba Regional Council. It was opened in 1989 by Yoshiharu Araki from the Brisbane Consul-General of Japan.
The gardens are named Ju Raku En, which means ‘to enjoy peace and longevity in a public place’. The gardens were carefully planned in Japan, incorporating Japanese and Australian species of trees and plants.
Walking through the gardens takes you on a journey through varying aspects of Japanese gardens. Entering through the Regent St entrance, you are presented first with the raked contemplation garden and the lake in the centre of the gardens.
The lake dominates the gardens, representing the celestial sea, and the three islands are where the immortals reside. The bridges to the islands connect the outer edge representing the material world and symbolise the journey to paradise by crossing the bridges to the islands. The vivid red colour wards off bad omens.
There are 3 kilometres of pathways, taking you through different styles of gardens. Head passed the raked garden towards the spring-fed waterfall Dragon Gate Falls, and cross the water over the Long Low Cloud Bridge, led by the stepping stones before it.
Continue across one of the red bridges to Blue Sea Island, then the next bridge to look at the Immortal’s Rock Isle. Step back off the islands on another red bridge to another spring fed water feature, and use the stepping stones to cross the water in the Remote Singing Valley.
Follow the lake to the Pebble Shoreline to the Crowd of Ducks Lake, near the Wisteria Pergola.
Toowoomba is known as a garden city. I sort of expect floral and manicured gardens like at Laurel Bank Park closer to the CBD. The Japanese Gardens in Toowoomba, a very good example of Japanese gardens, is a wonderful difference that adds diversity to the types of gardens you can find in Toowoomba.
To get there:
The Japanese gardens are easiest to find from West St, turning into Wuth St. West St runs south from Warrego Hwy (James St), and Wuth St is 3.8km from Warrego Hwy.
After turning into Wuth St from West St, turn left into Fleet St after 500m. Continue 250m to the Regent St entrance.
Alternatively, continue south on West St to the University entrance. At the end turn right and this will take you to the other entrance to the gardens. It looks like there is plenty of parking, but a lot of it is allocated. Unsure of where and how much parking is available at this entrance.
Cost: Free, gold coin donation box at the entrance
Wheelchair accessible: Yes