The Japanese Gardens are one of my favourite places in Toowoomba. A walking path meanders around the gardens, past tall trees, over traditional red bridges and past waterfalls and lakes. In springtime, the cherry blossoms are in flower and the ducks and other wildlife are nesting. The garden’s official name is Ju Raku En, which means “enjoying peace and longevity in a public place” and it certainly lives up to its name.
When Bec was still at school, Dan and I would often come to the Japanese Gardens for a walk. After dropping Bec off at school, we always had some time to fill in before Dan’s day at Yellow Bridge began. We would wander along the pathways, although with Dan it was a bit more of a gallop. Sometimes we would climb up the steps to the ‘Distant Pavillion’, sit in one of the shelters and look out on the ‘Crowd of Ducks Lake’ or watch the water rushing down the ‘Dragon Gates Falls’.
This morning I visited the gardens for the first time in a while. After walking through the large red gates, I took the path that runs along the perimeter, paused on the footbridge to take a quick photo of the waterfall (you know how much I love waterfalls), and then crossed over a red bridge to a shelter by the lake. Apparently the red bridges are a traditional Japanese feature, designed to ward off bad omens. I didn’t see any swooping magpies, so maybe it works.
As I came up to the lake, I was just in time to see a group of ducks, swimming in formation from the island in the middle of the lake, right past where I was standing. Right in the centre of the group, were some fluffy ducklings, out for a morning swim. So cute.
I love the lush green foliage in the gardens. It always feels cool and refreshing and makes a fabulous backdrop for the bright red bridges. The shelters are the perfect place to hide away with a book, and being right next to the university, the gardens are a great place for students to find some peace and quiet in between lectures. Thousands of visitors enjoy the peace and tranquility of Ju Raku En every year. Perhaps one morning I’ll see you here too.