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Construction of the Cowra Japanese Garden & Cultural Centre


In 1977 world renowned architect Ken Nakajima was commissioned to design the garden. Mr Nakajima was selected because of his work throughout the world designing Japanese gardens in Montreal, San Diego, Moscow and Houston. His company Consolidated Garden Research Inc. of Japan had a reputation second to none in all corners of the globe. The design of the garden is a copy of the first Japanese landscape garden (Strolling garden) built by the first Shogun Tokugawa in the 16th century A.D, the Edo period of Japan in what is now called Tokyo (Edo).


The Shogun had the garden constructed from drawings he commanded of Japanese geography from every corner of Japan and thus the garden became a landscape of Japan in miniature.


Ken Nakajima, the master of the visual art of Japanese landscape design, followed the principle aspects of Japanese landscape design meticulously and as a result the Cowra Japanese garden itself, as part of the overall complex of the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, is now a replica in miniature of the landscape of Japan.


The main features of the design incorporate the mountains of Japan, the waterfalls from the mountains that flow into the mountain lakes and from there the water flows into the rivers then the ocean, the hills from the mountains to the ocean are represented by trimmed hedges and the pine trees of Japan are represented throughout the perimeter of the landscape. It truly has become a visual representation of Japanese landscape desi gn.


The Garden and Cultural Centre was developed in three stages:

1. The Embryonic stage

The idea was first put forward in April 1973 and a feasibility study carried out and a model of a Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre constructed.

2. The Construction stage

Construction Stage One from 1978-79 funded by donations including from the Australian Government, New South Wales Govt., the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Expo 70 Osaka and Individuals.

The more significant Stage 2 Construction from 1984 to 1986 Funded by donations from The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, New South Wales Government, Lachlan Industries, Expo 70 Osaka and significant voluntary labour.

3. The Development and Maintenance stage

The ongoing development and maintenance of the Garden is provided for by a further donation made by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 1989 which saw the establishment of the Cowra Japanese Garden Maintenance Foundation as trustee for the Cowra Japanese Garden Trust.

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