Back in 1913, the Schönbrunn palace gardeners built a small Japanese garden in the park, which subsequently became disused and overgrown. It was restored to glory in the late 1990s.
- A little bit of Japan in the middle of imperial Vienna
- Part of the free-to-see park complex
- See also: Schönbrunn tickets & visitor info | The palm house
Zen meets Hans
In the west of Schönbrunn park, in among the topiary, giant glasshouses and distant cries of elephants tussling over the last banana, sits the rather incongruous site of a Japanese garden.
It’s instantly recognisable as such. A small cascade of water leading down to a lily pond. Bamboo water features. Bonsai-like trees and shrubs. Graceful curves raked into the gravel that laps around stone features.
The garden is just outside the main zoo entrance, where there’s a path going off along the edge of the palm house. You can’t miss it. It’s certainly not a destination in its own right, but a pleasant reminder of the friendship between Austria and Japan, and something different for the eye to focus on as you wander the Schönbrunn area or hurry to or from the zoo.
Incidentally, there are more Japanese connections in among the Habsburg legacy. For example:
- The Silberkammer museum in the Hofburg winter palace houses a large amount of Imari porcelain dating back to the 1700s
- The alpine gardens adjoining Belvedere palace include some gorgeous examples of the art of Bonsai
- The Weltmuseum has 15,000 items from Japan in its collection. The permanent exhibition includes a wonderful model of a Daimyō residence built for the 1873 world exhibition in Vienna
How to get to the Japanese garden
Follow the instructions for reaching the main entrance to the zoo in the broader article on finding Schönbrunn.
Address: Schlosspark Schönbrunn, 1130 Vienna | Website