The Jingu House Restaurant


My family has lived in San Antonio long enough to recall a time that the Japanese Tea Gardens were in disrepair and not open to the public. It had been such an historic landmark since opening in 1915. It seemed odd to not be able to visit while you were near the San Antonio Zoo or Brackenridge Park.

When it did finally reopen in 2008, I made a vow to myself that I would try and visit this scenic and unique tourist attraction at least once a year.






So far, I have gone with my family to have their photographs taken among the huge waterfall, koi ponds and lush greenery on a somewhat annual basis. It is always on the list of places to take our out of town guests to see as well.

When I was there this morning, I would soon discover that it is also the place to have a delightful lunch.




The Jingu Café has been open since January 2012. I stumbled upon the restaurant while I was taking pictures with my camera in hopes of becoming a better photographer. After reading the owner’s manual and taking about 300 pictures, it was time to go inside to eat a quick bite, cool off and drink a tall glass of cold iced tea.






The restaurant is housed in the area that once was home to the Jingu family. They lived and worked on the grounds of the gardens from 1926 until 1942.  They operated the Bamboo Room that served light lunches and tea.

The family was evicted after World War II because of the anti-Japanese climate. There had not been another facility similar to the original Bamboo Room on the grounds of the Japanese Tea Garden until now.





The inside of the Jingu House is rather small. It has a couple of tables in the front area where you place your order at the register. The menu is rather limited with sandwiches, wraps, salads as well as sushi being offered. They also feature a Bento Box that offers a hot protein item such as sesame chicken or beef and broccoli. It comes with the side options of brown rice, Japanese noodles, and cucumber salad, It is prepared by the local Fresh Horizons Catering Company.







I tried the garden salad sampler that gives you a choice of tuna salad or chicken salad as well as two sides The food was so fresh and full of flavor. The chicken salad was very simple.

It wasn’t the kind with lots of grapes or nuts but was packed with wonderful crunch and the perfect seasoning.


The hardest decision for me was the iced tea.

There are three types; a black tea, a cool mint and a sweet tea. They offer samples that will help you in your final choice. I had to flip a coin because I equally loved the black tea and mint tea. They were both so refreshing.

When the server came back by to ask me if I needed a refill, she offered to replace mine with the black tea since she remembered that I picked the cool mint tea first.





All of the servers were very helpful and willing to answer all of my questions about the food and the facility. I know they must get asked so many times about the beautiful building. They were more than happy to answer you and in great detail.



(the steps leading down from the restaurant)


I was tempted to get my meal to go but the atmosphere was so relaxing that I decided to sit down and enjoy the quiet time all by myself.

There was only one table of tourists and the rest were filled with locals. I chatted with a lot of people as we waited in line to order. Most of them were there for the first time.

The ladies at the  table next to me were all coworkers who had been to the restaurant several times. They said they loved coming in for the views and food  as well as feeling like they were on vacation on their lunch hour.

I couldn’t agree more. It felt like I was far away in some exotic location.


(the patio with outdoor seating


I wanted to show you the inside of the restaurant and the views from the tables upstairs. It was too crowded with people by the time I took my camera out.  It would have disrupted everyone’s lunch since the tables are fairly close together.





(the path outside the front door of the restaurant)



There is something very special about dining in a place surrounded by such spectacular views……you don’t want to cause a disruption.







I promise you that if you make a special trip to the Jingu House at the Japenese Tea Garden, you will not be disappointed.

Be sure to bring the family and your camera.






(the steps leading up to the restaurant on the right)



Even if you don’t wish to eat at the restaurant, it is worth a trip to soak in all the beauty of this historic place and capture some smiles that you will have as a permanent memory.









Or relax in this wonderful oasis alone.







And take a leisurely stroll with the perfect cup of tea.










For more information about the Jingu House at the Japanese Tea Garden visit Jinguhousesa.


Stay Sassy Y’all.


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  1. Nia Hobbs says:

    Saw that you were going to blog about this so had to come and have a look. Definately want to go try Jingu House, hopefully sometime soon. Thanks for also reminding me about a great place to go photograph. I am doing a 365 photography project so that I can get a handle on the DSLR we bought. Loving it but as with all things time consuming.

    • Do you know that we bought this camera in January and yesterday was the first time that I had opened the owner’s manual-I am kind of a “wing it” learner but that isn’t always the best way! I learned so much in just having the time to really see what the camera can do. I am going to take a class too. I would love to see the pics you take with your camera! Good Luck and enjoy-I’ll go back just for a glass of iced tea!

  2. We ate lunch there just last week. It was wonderful! We tried some of the Bento boxed lunches (yum) and the wraps. I can hardly wait to go back to try something else.

    • I was checking everyone’s food out and the wraps looked delicious! I loved the Japanese noodles as one of my sides. Steve wants to back when he goes to the nearby driving range! He knows I will golf if there is good food involved at the end! Let me know when you go next time Julie! Maybe we can meet for lunch!

  3. I am so glad you did this post! I’ve been really wanting to go to the Japanese Tea Gardens but didn’t know much about them. Looks like this will be a definite field trip for us coming up!

    • It is easy to just pull in and walk around AND it’s free! One of my kids fell in the pond when they were about 2! It is beautiful! Enjoy!

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