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Ju Raku En Toowoomba Japanese Gardens with Kids

The Ju Raku En Toowoomba Japanese Gardens are the perfect place to spend a day with the kids. If you like the idea of picnics, leisurely strolls, blooming flowers and bird-feeding sounds then you can’t go past Ju Raku En.

About the Japanese Garden Toowoomba

Roughly translated, Ju Raku En means ‘to enjoy peace and longevity in a public place’. The Toowoomba Japanese Garden embodies a seamless and restful harmony through its elements of mountain stream and waterfall, central lake, Dry Garden, and Azalea Hill. The designer of the garden, Professor Kinsaku Nakane of Kyoto, purposely placed all of the large rocks in Ju Raku En in such a way that they actually look as if they’ve come to be there naturally.

Ju Raku En is one of Australia’s largest and most traditionally designed Japanese stroll gardens, stretching across a 3-hectare site. There are three kilometres of paths, 230 species of Japanese and Australian native trees and plants, and manicured lawns. There are also seasonal delights: Japanese maples provide a scene of autumnal colour, while in spring masses of lilac blossoms hang from the Wisteria Pergola.

What does the garden represent?

things to do in Toowoomba with kids

The Ju Raku En Japanese Garden Toowoomba has been authentically designed to represent Buddhist mythology. It is a depiction of Buddhist paradise. At the centre of the garden is a rock island, which represents Mt Sumeru, the centre of the Buddhist universe. The other two islands are where the immortal beings live, while the lake represents the celestial sea. The outer edges of the lake are the material world, with the bridges offering a way for a person to make the journey to paradise.

Check out Brisbane Buddhist Temples here.

Why the Japanese Gardens in Toowoomba are great for kids

The art of Japanese gardening is unique to Japanese culture, and something your kids may have never seen before. It’s a great way to introduce them to a new culture, to pique their interest in nature and gardening, and to give them an opportunity to learn something new.

The gardens are also home to fish and a variety of bird life, so why not take some fish and bird-friendly food (frozen peas and corn, oats, or rice) and enjoy feeding the geese, swans, ducks and native species that call Ju Raku En home? It’s also an opportunity to talk about why feeding birds bread is bad for them.

Depending on the age of your kids, you could also explain a little about the Buddhist legends and myths that helped inspire the design of the garden. It’s certainly interesting and provides another, spiritual way of looking at the garden.

The parklands are stroller accessible, so they’re toddler friendly. Your wee ones might get tired little legs after a day wandering about. Make sure you take full advantage of the many viewing platforms on offer.

Where and when to visit the gardens

The Toowoomba Japanese Gardens are located on the northern side of the University of Southern Queensland campus, in Darling Heights. Parking is available in campus parking lot 5, which can be reached by turning right at the T-intersection after entering the campus from West Street.

The gardens are open every day from 6.00am until dusk and are free.

If you are looking for a lot more things to do in Toowoomba then THIS is the article for you!

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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