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San Antonio's Japanese Tea Garden Hosts The Blues

The lively event Blues in the Garden takes place in a once-unlikely location, the quarry now known as the Japanese Tea Garden. 

"It was the first Alamo Quarry, and once they depleted the quarry and they moved it up 281 to where the Quarry Shopping Center is now," Elizabeth Johnson says. She runs the Jingu House Cafe on site.

While the garden once was a barren, stony ruin, it's now lush and colorful.

"It is, I think, not only unique to San Antonio, but unique to the United States," she says. "There are very few Japanese Tea Gardens that look as spectacular."

A massive pagoda overlooks Koi ponds with arched stone bridges surrounded by flowers and trees. On occasion, they make live music there. Bluesy rocker Ruben V. is the next star performer.

"For the months of August and September we will start our Blues in the Garden at 7:30 p.m. and it will run until 10:30," Johnson explains.  "Come out, maybe take a stroll, enjoy the park and end up here for some live music, great food and great beverage."

The band sets up under the big pagoda, or pavilion, that provides something else important: shade.

"It has these beautiful arches and is supported by these massive buttresses. It looks like something you could only see in Japan or somewhere in the Far East," she says.

The Jingu House menu features both casual dining, as well as some more serious selections.

"That coupled with some Sake, some local beers, some dim sum off of our dim sum menu. Life is good!." Johnson says.

Thursday, August 17 is the next Blues in the Garden event and continues once a month until the end of the year for free.

Find more on Blues in the Garden here

Find more on the Jingu House Cafe here


Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii