One of the most peaceful and beautiful parks in Toowoomba is the University's Japanese Garden.
Ju Raku En (roughly translated means '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, but it is still a comparatively young garden and it will take many years for it to be considered complete.
Located on the northern side of the campus, on a 3 hectare site, it is one of Australia's largest and most traditionally designed Japanese stroll garden. The site is jointly owned by USQ and the Toowoomba Regional Council.
Feature of the garden include:
- mountain stream and waterfall
- Dry Garden
- central lake
- Azalea Hill
- 3 kilometres of paths
- 230 species of Japanese and Australian native trees and plants
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 has limited access for disabled persons, and public restrooms are available. To book the garden for a wedding or other function, please contact USQ Campus Services. The site plan for the Garden is also available to view.
The Garden is open daily from 6:00am (AEST) to Dusk and admission is free.
The master plan for Ju Raku En and the design for the 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 3 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 more than just a group of rocks stitched together by water and artificially created hills and forests. It is actually 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.