Off the Path

Don’t miss the hidden gems of Hermann Park! Step off the beaten path to discover the natural beauty of Bayou Parkland, the serenity of the Japanese Garden, fun, site-specific art installations on loan to Hermann Park, and more. 



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. 



Patrick Talley

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 through October 31: 9 am to 6 pm
November 1 through February 28: 9 am to 5 pm

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. 

For information on plants in the Japanese Garden, click here.

Click here to donate to the Japanese Garden.

The Japanese Garden is not available for rentals.



Fishing is permitted at Bob's Fishing Pier along the western side of the lake beyond the green buoys. It is restricted to those aged 12 and younger and 65 and older (Sec. 32-35 City of Houston Municipal Code). A Texas fishing license is required for those aged between 12 and 65. “Catch and release” is recommended. To find Bob’s Fishing Pier on our interactive map, click here.



A former Core Fellow and a resident of Houston for many years, Sharon Engelstein is known for her organic, bubbly sculptural forms. For Hermann Park, Engelstein designed one taller element, Mamadillidiidae, poised on the site surrounded by several smaller pieces called Dillidiidae. These “wandering” forms are not immediately recognizable as identical quintuplets but appear to be quite different in their various positions on the knoll. The tumbling forms invite interactivity and draw visitors due to their vibrant hues.