Back in 1913, the Schönbrunn palace gardeners built a small Japanese garden which subsequently became disused and overgrown. Their successors restored the garden to its full 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:
Zen meets Hans
In the west of the public 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 small Japanese garden.
The landscaping immediately reveals the inimitable style associated with Japan.
A 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 certainly not a destination in its own right, but a pleasant reminder of the friendship between Austria and Japan.
Consider it something different for the eye to focus on as you wander the Schönbrunn area or hurry to or from the zoo.
Incidentally, this is just one of several Japanese connections in among the Habsburg legacy and Vienna. 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
For more gardens with their own geographical or cultural theme, try Hirschstetten. These botanical gardens have sections dedicated to, for example, India, Mexico, and the Provence region of France.
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. As you face the ticket counter, the garden is off to the left where a path runs along the south edge of the giant palm house. You can’t miss it.
Address: Schlosspark Schönbrunn, 1130 Vienna | Website