Apparently San Antonio has some mixed feelings about this park, because it is not well advertised. It is Waterfall part of the charmingly eccentric history of this city, along with the King William neighborhood and the Deco District and even parts of the River Walk which haven't proved commercially exciting. We like to visit whenever we come; it is usually not crowded, always free, and small enough to occuply us for not more than about an hour.
Tucked into a corner of Brackenridge Park, near the entrance of the zoo, this garden is reached by a set of stairs next to the Jingu House Restaurant which can be ignored. You will see at once that its origins have been preserved: it began as a rock quarry just before the beginnings of the twentieth century when a cement plant set up shop here before the park fully opened. Carp
As Brackenridge Park expanded tne city grew, the park department developed the garden with major construction taking place starting about 1917 and continuing till 1920, with plans to construct a small village, probably similar to today's La Villita -- a tourist attraction where local arts and crafts would be sold from charming small buildings. In 1926, Kimi Eizo Jingu, a Japanese-American tea importer, moved with his family to the garden and opened a restaurant, The Bamboo Room, for light lunches and mid-day teas. This continued until 1942, when, as the publicity says, "they were evicted due to anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II." Pagoda
The name of the garden was changed to The Chinese Sunken Garden and was operated by a Chinese-American family. By 1984, the garden was re-dedicated as the Japanese Tea Garden. But it had deteriorated during the intervening years, and is still in the middle of a multi-phase plan to restore the garden and build up the touristic possibilities.
Today, people come to wander along the paths, enjoying the carp which flourish in the ponds and the changing views of plantings throughout the year. There is a lovely long waterfall. Until the city figures out what to do with it, the garden remains an unpublicized, little-known destination for the curious of all ages.