Have you ever visited the Japanese Gardens Toowoomba? Did you know that there is a Japanese Garden right in the heart of Queensland? Toowoomba Japanese Gardens or Ju Raju En means “enjoying peace and longevity in a public place.”
The Japanese Gardens Toowoomba is known for representing Japanese traditions in landscaping design.
The University of Southern Queensland developed the Toowoomba gardens. Both the university and Toowoomba Regional Council maintain the gardens for over 100,000 annual visitors.
The gardens feature a lake, three islands, a tree grove. When you visit the beautiful gardens, you will see wildlife and a variety of flora.
Come with me, and we can explore the Toowoomba gardens and a few other nearby things to do on your next vacation.
History Of The Toowoomba Japanese Gardens
The Japanese Gardens in Toowoomba opened in 1989. Mr. Yoshiharu Araki helped on the project and was there for the grand opening on April 21. He was part of the Brisbane Consul-General of Japan.
Using more than 3 hectares of land near the USQ in the north, the Toowoomba Regional Council, the University, and Mr. Araki all helped create authentic Japanese gardens that residents and visitors can enjoy to this day and pass on to their young family members.
The Toowoomba Japanese Gardens are the biggest in Australia and considered the most traditional. Despite it being a relatively young garden in comparison to actual Japanese gardens, it is magnificent.
It took six years to construct the garden, and this was after three years of planning the layout to include a Japanese tea house.
The garden emphasizes rock formations chosen by Professor Kinsaku Nakane of Kyoto, a professor, and designer. He wanted the rocks and stone to appear natural. Ju Raku En is considered a representation of Buddhism, with the celestial sea as the main point.
The three islands are there for immortals to dwell. The “material world” is the edge of the lake, a symbol of paradise where one has to cross four bridges to the three islands to reach the center of the lake and the Buddhist paradise.
Things to See in Toowoomba Gardens
Visiting the Japanese Gardens in Toowoomba should not be missed. The gardens offer a central lake with ducks, fish, and turtles. With various Japanese bridges, you can walk over the water features and reach the three islands.
As you walk around, you will see waterfalls, bamboo avenues, cherry blossom trees, azalea hill, a tea house, a wisteria arbor, and numerous conifers. The garden has more than 230 species of Japanese and Australian native flora.
Using the mountain stream, Araki created a waterfall and central lake. The dry garden features bamboo and sand. Visitors can enjoy around 2-miles of paths throughout the beautiful gardens.
The Toowoomba gardens are laid out for ease of walking. The paths will lead you through trees, around plants, along the stream, over bridges, and to the lake. Plenty of seating is available throughout the park so you can relax and take in the beauty around you.
Make sure you take the path across the bridges, which lead to the three islands. Each island is meant to represent a safe haven for immortals. In addition, a Zen garden and statues are found throughout the park.
Things To Know About Japanese Gardens Ju Raju En
The Japanese Gardens Toowoomba offers a play area, picnic tables, shelter, gardens, and plenty of walking. The gardens provide facilities for visitors, including numerous grassy areas to relax and enjoy the sites.
Toilet amenities are near Birch Court Park. Parking is near the southern entry gate.
The various arbors and shelters make Japanese Gardens Ju Raju En a beautiful wedding destination. Visitors can reach out to the university’s garden website to book their wedding or wedding photography times.
Do you have kids? The Toowoomba Japanese Gardens is a wonderful place to bring your children. There is a playground and plenty of toddler to older kid-friendly areas. You will want to bring a stroller or wagon for the younger kids because the paths are long, and it can take an entire day to truly enjoy the parkland.
You are not encouraged to feed the wildlife, but the ducks and birds are used to getting a little stale bread from families.
The focus is the garden display with a variety of plants, but kids can also enjoy picnicking.
Best Time to Visit
There is no best time to visit the gardens. The gardens are designed for seasonal changes.
In spring, the cherry blossom trees will bloom, and you will see the petals fall to the ground in fall. You should plan your visit for each season to see the different blooms.
While parts of Australia do not have distinct seasons, like other countries, the northern location and types of trees allow for spring and late September color changes.
There is no entry fee into the gardens. You can visit whenever you want.
From 6 am to dusk, the entry gate is closed before 6 am and then locked again once the sun goes down. Depending on the time of year, the gate may open at 7 am and close at 7 pm.
Are There Any Tours?
There are no tours provided to visitors at the gardens. However, you can choose to take part in a bus tour of Queensland that will take you to the gardens.
From Brisbane CBD, the drive to Toowoomba is under 2-hours.
Access to Toowoomba Japanese Gardens is off West Street at the University of Southern Queensland. Go along the main avenue, and you will see free public parking, with a vermillion red gate. The gate marks the entrance to the grand gardens.
There is also a back entrance on Regent Street, which is wheelchair accessible. There is street parking around there, but the main parking is at the red gate.
Dogs are welcome on leash. You must pick up after your pet.
The Toowoomba Japanese Gardens is an excellent place for you to go and enjoy solitude or bring your family. Whether you want to have a picnic, family event, wedding, or just relax in nature, the gardens offer numerous visages that will have you contemplating peace.
You can walk, picnic, take pictures of the blooming plants and trees, watch for wildlife, and enjoy the peaceful layout of the gardens throughout the year.
Address: 20 Regent Street, Darling Heights QLD 4350
Fun Things To Do Near Japanese Gardens Toowoomba
There are so many fun things to keep you busy and fill up your days in Toowoomba, so I thought I’d help you out with a few more ideas that will keep you and the kids entertained on your days out.
Carnival of Flowers
This is an annual event that is held every September and goes on for the entire month. It’s Springtime, so the weather is warmer, and all the gardens and parks are filled with bright, colorful flowers.
There are floral displays in all the public spaces and parks. The Japanese Gardens Toowoomba compliments the Carnival of Flowers too.
Not only are there spectacular displays everywhere, but there’s a whole host of exhibitions, activities, music, dance, food & wine, and lots of family entertainment.
You won’t want to miss this, so if you can time your visit allowing you to attend the Carnival of Flowers, do so.
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If you have kids, the Empire Theatre is an absolute must! This should be high up on your list of things to do after you’ve been to the Japanese Gardens Toowoomba.
The Empire Theatre is a listed heritage site and is very well known for its classic architecture. It’s also regional Australia’s largest performing arts precinct.
There are so many performances that will suit everyone.
Location: 54-56 Neil Street, Toowoomba, Queensland
Contact: 1300 655 299
Cowboy Up Horse Riding
This is such a fun experience! Put your hat on and enjoy the freedom of being on that comfortable western saddle while riding through working cattle property.
From the rolling hills, you can take in the beauty of the mountains and the picturesque farmland views. Keep an eye out for all the birdlife, the wallabies, and wild deer that thrive in their natural surroundings.
Location: Cowboy Up Trail Riding, 160 Rocky Gully Road, Emu Creek Queensland 4355
Contact: 07 4698 4772
Toowoomba Live Steamers
All aboard – Toot Toot! Visit the Toowoomba Live Steamers miniature railway and enjoy an 8-10 minute train ride along the 1000m track.
If the weather permits, on the third Sunday of each month, the railway is open to the public.
Children and adults can enjoy their train rides for $2.00 each.
Location: Lemway Park, Lemway Avenue, Kearney Springs, Toowoomba 4350
Queens Park Botanic Gardens
Queens Park Botanic Gardens is set across more than 25 hectares of beautiful parkland. It has seven areas for the kids to explore. Stroll through these gardens and take in the lovely fresh air while you discover all the vibrant blooms this heritage park has to offer.
Take the kids to Frogs Hollow, which is a play area just for them.
Bring your dogs because there’s even a dog park where they’re allowed to run free.
Location: 43 Lindsay Street, East Toowoomba QLD 4350
Gumbi Gumbi Gardens
These gardens cover about 2.2 hectares of land and form part of the USQ Toowoomba’s commitment to helping develop a better understanding of the local Indigenous heritage and acknowledging both the culture and the contribution that they have continued to make to their region.
The Gumbi Gumbi Gardens symbol is the gumbi gumbi, a native Australian plant (Pittosporum Phylliraeoides).
In these gardens, you’ll find over 100 indigenous plants used by the Aboriginal communities for things like medicine and food. It represents healing, growth, and knowledge.
You can visit anytime, and there is no admission fee.
Location: University of Southern Queensland, West Street Entrance
Newtown Park and State Rose Garden
Do you love roses? Newtown Park and State Rose Garden is a must-see location.
It’s one of the premier parks in Toowoomba and covers 12 hectares of land.
Home to more than 2000 roses, Newtown Park and State Rose Garden, offers a children’s play area under a Water Oak tree. There are barbeque and picnic areas, as well as sports ovals.
Take a stroll along the lovely paths that are wheelchair accessible too.
Location: 147 Taylor Street, Newtown QLD 4350
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Cobb And Co Museum
Here’s where you learn about the heritage trade. You get to see the traditional Cobb+Co carriages that were used way back in the horse-drawn era.
Or visit one of the very educational interactive events, which will keep you talking for days.
There is always so much on at the museum; everyone will want to keep coming back.
Location: 27 Lindsay Street, Toowoomba, QLD 4350
Contact: 07 4659 4900
Table Top Mountain
If you’re up for something a little bit more adventurous, why not take the opportunity to hike up Table Top Mountain with the kids.
Table Top Mountain is an Aboriginal ceremonial site known for its flat peak. For some reason, no trees grow at the summit.
It is located on the edge of Toowoomba, with stunning views of the Lockyer Valley.
The Table Top Mountain hike is a perfect activity for a sunny morning or afternoon. The kids will thoroughly enjoy scrambling over rocks to get to the top. The path to the top will take around 2.5 hours, but it’s well worth it!
Location: Table Top Mountain, Toowoomba
As you can see, there is so much to do in Queensland, so after visiting the Japanese Gardens Toowoomba, there is certainly enough to keep you busy for days.
Let us know if you have visited any of the locations I listed above and share your thoughts. Please let us know if you’ve visited any places that I’ve not mentioned in this post or somewhere that you are thinking of visiting soon. And enjoy your next vacation!