Walks

Enjoy a leisurely stroll in Hermann Park around the Jones Reflection Pool and McGovern Lake but don't miss walking through the Japanese Garden for a very Zen experience. More ambitious walkers can take the 2-mile Marvin Taylor Trail around the golf course but if you get tired, use the covered Greenway Trail to cut across the golf course to reduce your walk by half. 

STOP 1.

MARY GIBBS AND JESSE H. JONES REFLECTION POOL

One of the most popular features in Hermann Park, the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool measures 740 feet long and 80 feet wide. Sculpted stone edges create an attractive border for the pool and a black bottom offers maximum reflection. Both sides are lined with beautiful mature live oak trees.

STOP 2.

MCGOVERN LAKE

The scenic, eight-acre lake offers Park visitors a beautiful spot to relax and watch birds or take a pedal boat ride. Major improvements to the lake were started in 1999 when the old lake was drained, enlarged, and concrete edges were added for safety. The lake now includes three islands, with two islands set aside for migratory birds. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted for children under 12 and senior citizens over 65 at Bob's Fishing Pier. Pedal boats are available for rental in Lake Plaza.  

STOP 3.

JAPANESE GARDEN

With its waterfalls, bridges, and stone paths that wander among crepe myrtles, azaleas, Japanese maples, dogwoods, and cherry trees, the Japanese Garden is a peaceful hideaway in Hermann Park. The garden was designed by world-renowned landscape architect, Ken Nakajima. Natural materials are used, such as rock, wood, and plants, to give a feeling of serenity. The Japanese Garden features a teahouse and winding paths to explore the lush gardens.

On October 19, 2012, 20 cherry trees were planted in the garden to commemorate the original gift of cherry trees to the United States by Japan in 1912.

The Japanese Garden is open daily for your enjoyment and there is no admission charged.

Japanese Garden Hours:
March 1 - October 31: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m
November 1 - February 28: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The entrance to the Japanese Garden is near the Pioneer Memorial obelisk just off Molly Ann Smith Plaza near the Heart of the Park. The closest parking lot is Lot A located just off Sam Houston Monument circle. To get to the Japanese Garden from Lot A, follow the decomposed granite path along the Jones Reflection Pool under the double allée of trees and you'll see the entrance just off the plaza with the obelisk. View our interactive map for more information.

For more information on the history of the Japanese Garden, click here to visit the Houston Parks and Recreation Department's page. 

Click here to donate to the Japanese Garden.

The Japanese Garden is not available for rentals.

List of Plants 


1. Oga Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)

This Asia native herbaceous perennial produces pink and white flowers from summer to fall. The Oga Lotus was a gift from Houston’s sister city, Chiba City, Japan.

Light: Full sun           

Size: 3 - 6’ tall, 3 - 4’ wide

Water: Wet

Special Cultural Requirements:  Aphids and red spider mites are occasional pests; fish can help control it. Watch out for blights.

2. Taiwan Cherry Tree (Prunus campanulata

This cherry tree comes from Taiwan and blooms bright pink flowers in early spring.  It attracts birds, but its cherries are not edible for human consumption. This cherry tree is well adapted to Houston’s climate.

Light: Full sun - partial shade

Size: 10 - 25’ tall, 10 - 15’ wide

Water: Moderate

3. Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii) 

This evergreen tolerates deer, high salt content, and can be grown as a bonsai.

Light: Full sun

Size: 20 - 60’ tall, 12 - 20’ wide

Water: Moderate 

4. Japanese Apricot (Prunus mume 'Kobai')

This deciduous tree blooms in winter with fragrant red flowers. The aromatic plant is native to Japan and attracts butterflies.

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Size: 15 - 20’ tall

Water: Moderate

5. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

This deciduous tree blooms in spring with small reddish-purple flowers. This plant is native to Japan and attracts rabbits.

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Size: 10 - 25’ tall, 10 - 25’ wide

Water: Moderate

Special Cultural Requirements: Avoid hot and dry sites, and plant in areas protected from strong winds.

6. Osmanthus/Fragrant Olive (Osmanthus fragrans)

This evergreen tree blooms in spring with white flowers. The aromatic plant is native to Japan and attracts butterflies. It tolerates heavy clays, and drought tolerant once established.

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Size: 10 - 15’ tall, 10 - 15’ wide

Water: Moderate

Special Cultural Requirements: Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.

7. Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda)

This deciduous vine is native to Japan and blooms in spring with lilac flowers.

Light: Sun to partial shade

Size: 30 - 40’ tall

Water: Moderate

Special Cultural Requirements: Do not overwater; also this plant self-sows

8. Camellia (Camellia Japonica)

This evergreen perennial blooms every season with white, pink, red, yellow, and lavender flowers. This aromatic plant is native to Japan and attracts butterflies.

Light: Partial shade

Size: 7 - 12’ tall, 5 - 10’’ wide

Water: Moderate

9. Nandina/Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)

This deciduous shrub blooms in spring with white flowers and produces berries in winter. This plant is native to Japan and is deer resistant and attracts birds.

Light: Partial shade - full sun

Size: 4 - 8’ tall, 2 - 3’ wide

Water: Moderate, but only occasionally once established

Special Cultural Requirements: Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.

10. Indica Hybrid - George Tabor (Rhododenron x 'George Tabor')

This evergreen perennial blooms in mid-spring with pink flowers. It attracts hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators.

Light: Full to partial shade

Size: 6 - 8’ tall, 4 - 6’ wide

Water: Moderate

Special Cultural Requirements: Keep roots cool with a thick layer of mulch and feed with an acid fertilizer.

 


STOP 4.

MARVIN TAYLOR TRAIL

The Marvin Taylor Trail offers runners and walkers a picturesque two-mile path, much of it under the shade of historic live oaks. Renovated in 2011, the former carriage trail now features a decomposed granite surface with concrete curbs, new light poles, and improved drainage. The trail is named for Marvin Taylor, a community leader who helped organize runners and neighbors to clean up Hermann Park. His volunteer group was one of several that joined forces to become the Friends of Hermann Park, now Hermann Park Conservancy. 

To see locations of mile markers along the trail, click here
 

STOP 5.

PEDESTRIAN GREENWAY

The Pedestrian Greenway gives joggers and walkers a safe and convenient way to cross the Hermann Park Golf Course. The quarter-mile long trail is partially covered with overhead fencing to protect pedestrians from golf balls. 

STOP 6.

BAYOU PARKLAND

Bayou Parkland is an 80-acre oasis for native plants and wildlife, nestled along Brays Bayou. Scenic trails, wetlands, prairie meadows and an urban forest offer a diverse nature experience. A multi-use pavilion provides a comfortable place for picnics. The area was once cut off from the Heart of the Park, but is now accessible through a pedestrian underpass below North and South MacGregor.