May 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the Japanese Garden, a popular destination in Hermann Park. Over the years, the garden had begun to settle into a Texas-style garden and was at risk of losing its Japanese nature. Improvements to the Garden began in 2007, with annual direction by the design and landscape team from Japan, and will continue through the anniversary year.
The Japan team, led by renowned landscape architect Terunobu Nakai until his death in 2011, has been visiting the Garden each year since 2007 to implement the original concepts of Japanese landscape designer Ken Nakajima. The Park’s gardeners have since been following their direction, pruning shrubs and trees in Japanese style, installing bamboo fences, planting appropriate trees and shrubs, and realigning gravel paths.
In order to continue the renovation, the City of Houston has committed funds to its restoration, with additional funds raised by the Conservancy. To commemorate the Garden’s 25th anniversary, the Conservancy and the Japanese Garden Advisory Committee sought to complete a major renovation to further enhance its beauty while also making it more accessible to visitors. These improvements included: