This Japanese strolling garden is located on the Wooded Island in Jackson Park. Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. created the island from a sandbar for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition as the setting for the Japanese Pavilion, the Ho-o-den. In 1935 Chicago Park District landscape architects designed a new Japanese garden adjacent to the Ho-o-den, incorporating elements from the Century of Progress World’s Fair. This garden featured ponds with islets, a waterfall, stone walkways, cherry trees, a moon bridge, rock groupings, and stone lanterns. The structures were burned following World War II and the island became derelict. The garden was restored in 1981 with Keneji Domoto as a consultant. In the mid-1990s it received further improvements when it was designated the Osaka Garden, in honor of Chicago’s relationship with sister city Osaka, Japan.
As a Japanese strolling garden, or kyuushiki, views are framed from a meandering path, seasonal plantings add texture and variety, and typical elements such as a moon bridge, lanterns, and a waterfall, are included. The garden now features a gate, pavilion, a stone water basin, Turtle Island, a moon bridge, rock formations, and several lanterns. The garden is accessible by bridge on the north side of the lagoon.