The Japanese Garden ‘Ju Raku En’ (roughly translated to mean 'to enjoy peace and longevity in a public place') was opened on 21 April 1989 by Mr Yoshiharu Araki from the Brisbane Consul-General of Japan. Located over three hectares on the northern side of USQ Toowoomba, the site is jointly owned by USQ and the Toowoomba Regional Council.
The Garden features:
- a mountain stream and waterfall
- dry garden
- A central lake
- Azalea Hill
- 3 kilometres of paths
- 230 species of Japanese and Australian native trees and plants.
The Garden is open daily from 6.00am (AEST) to dusk and admission is free. There is limited access for disabled persons, and public restrooms are available.
Weddings and events
The Garden is a popular venue for weddings. Spring weddings are often held under the mass of lilac blossoms hanging from the Wisteria Pergola, while other couples choose to be married in front of the waterfall or under the Viewing Pavilion on one of the islands.
The Garden is one of Australia's largest and most traditionally designed Japanese stroll garden. Ju Raku En is a relatively young garden and it will take many years for it to be considered complete. The master plan and design for the Garden and community building and tea house were prepared in Japan after site analysis and intensive background studies by staff of the Nakane Garden Research. Construction commenced in 1983 after three years of planning.
Japanese gardens emphasise the use of rocks to create three dimensional pictures in stone. All the large rocks in Ju Raku En were accurately placed by the designer of the garden, Professor Kinsaku Nakane of Kyoto, so as to appear naturally dispersed in a random way.
Ju Raku En is a presentation of Buddhist paradise with the celestial sea (the lake) lapping the rocky shores of the three islands where the immortals are said to dwell. The material world is the outer edge of the lake and a symbolic journal to paradise may be made by crossing one of the four bridges to the islands.