In 1926, the city of San Antonio invited Kimi Eizo Jingu, a Japanese-American artist, to help design and maintain the gardens. He and his wife Miyoshi opened the Bamboo Room, where light lunches and tea were served. Jingu was a representative of the Shizuoka Tea Association and was considered an expert in the tea business. He died in 1938. His wife and eight children continued to maintain the gardens and operate the Tea Room. In 1942, the family was evicted amid the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment of World War II. The name of the sunken garden was changed to the Chinese Tea Garden.
In 1984 it was returned to the original name of The Japanese Tea Garden in a ceremony attended by Jingu's children. I wonder if they will change the name back on the Torii gate?
Koi ponds lie at the bottom of the quarry.Over the years, the Tea Gardens were neglected and became a target for graffiti and vandalism. In 2005, the City began the restoration process that is underway.
A waterfall cascades sixty feet to the Koi ponds below.Scaffolding and metal fencing surround the original stone buildings. Perhaps by summer's end I'll be able to enjoy a Japanese Tea Ceremony and lunch at the gardens.
In the meantime, it's back to the pied-á-terre for a light lunch of European Smoked Salmon, cilantro and cream cheese finger sandwiches........................................................
Diane's Sugar Cookies (the only recipe I've found that works with my pineapple cookie stamp)
And tea - kept in a tea canister that my Mother gave me when I was 14....................
Served on a tray that my daughter made for me. Not a bad way to spend the day.
Photography By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman
Sotto Il Monte Vineyards
Top Image: Unknown Artist - If anyone knows who this artist is - please let me know. I've had this image in my files for years .