The Fort Worth Japanese Garden is a 7.5-acre (3.0 ha) Japanese Garden in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. The garden was built in 1970 and many of the plants and construction materials were donated by Fort Worth's sister city Nagaoka, Japan. Attractions at the garden include a meditation garden, a moon viewing deck, a pagoda, and fishfood dispensers to feed the hundreds of koi in the garden's ponds. The garden hosts two annual events, the Spring Festival and the Fall Festival, featuring demonstrations of Japanese art and culture.
The Fort Worth Japanese Garden was originally constructed with materials donated from numerous individuals, businesses, and institutions in north Texas and elsewhere in the USA. In the 1990s, Fort Worth's Japanese sister city, Nagaoka, donated an authentic Mikoshi (a sacred palanquin) to Fort Worth, which is currently housed within the garden's precincts.
Several trees, including pines and flowering cherries, were similarly donated. Finally, Mr. Shigeichi Suzuki, a landscape architect from Nagaoka, donated plans for a karesansui-style addition to the Garden in 1997. The addition was completed in 2000, and is now called the 'Suzuki Garden'.
The Fort Worth Japanese Garden was built into a little valley, originally a gullied bluff, that opened onto the floodplain of the Trinity River's Clear Fork branch. Enlarged as a gravel quarry, the site also served at various times as a watering hole for cattle, a trash dump, and a squatter's camp. Today, the secluded valley serves as a Japanese-style 'stroll garden' (kaiyushiki teien).
At the heart of the landscape is a system of ponds, surrounded by hills (tsukiyama), and enclosed by a network of interconnected paths, pavilions, bridges, and decks. As the name implies, the garden unfolds as an ever-changing series of landscape perspectives to visitors who stroll along those thoroughfares.
The 'Karesansui Garden' (formerly called the 'Meditation Garden'), is patterned after Kyoto's famous 'Garden of the Abbot's Quarters', at the Ryoanji Temple complex. It is a classic fifteen-stone, 'Hira niwa' (Flat Garden) composition, that has its own unique characteristics. One of them is an elevated and enclosed viewing veranda, evocative of a Japanese-style roofed bridge (rokyo).
The Fort Worth Japanese Garden's 'Moon-Viewing Deck' is a creative adaptation of the Ginkakuji temple's famous 'Kogetsudai' sand cone. Fort Worth's version is intended to be an interactive karesansui exhibit, in which visitors may ascend the flat-topped cone via steps, and view the composition from above. A 'Taijitu' (a yin-yang symbol), lies embossed in exposed-aggregate concrete at the summit.
Two karesansui (dry landscape) exhibits at the Fort Worth Japanese Garden are evocative of rivers that originate in mountainous terrain. One of them begins adjacent the garden's 'Pavilion', and 'flows' down a winding, boulder-lined channel, to a small lake or sea. Here, the 'water' consists entirely of ornamental gravel, and can be viewed from several levels along its length.