Chinese and Japanese Gardens
Posted On 9 January 2019
Last Updated on 31 August 2020
Notice: The Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden are currently closed for redevelopment from 31 May 2019. The expected completion is end 2021. In the meantime, hop on over to the Lakeside Garden open since 27 April 2019!
Come with us on an epic Journey to the West, to a land of monkeys and pigs, as we explore the Chinese Garden and Japanese garden located in Jurong Lake Gardens.
The gardens are easily accessible via a convenient train ride to Chinese Garden MRT station on the East-West line.
From the MRT station, it is a short skip and a quick hop to the East Entrance of the Chinese Garden. The walkway passes through an expansive green field, where the Pond Heron (Ardeola sp.) loves to hang out.
Once in the Chinese Garden, the first place we find ourselves heading towards is the prominent seven-storey pagoda, called the Cloud Piercing Pagoda, and the first thing we are propelled to do once we reach there is race up the spiral staircase to the top.
The 360-degree panoramic view at the top of the pagoda is truly a sight to behold.
But the best vantage point for a spot of bird-watching is half-way up, around the 4th or 5th storey. The most likely birds that we will see perching at the crown of the trees are the Pink-necked Green Pigeons (Treron vernans). Once in a while, we can hear the gleeful chortling of the kingfisher or spot a flash of blue as he flies from tree to tree.
At the other end of the Chinese Garden stands the Twin Pagodas, also open for climbing to the top if you can’t get enough of panoramic views.
Deep within the Chinese Garden, an enticing circular portal beckons us to enter.
When we do, we are transported into a peaceful garden courtyard. Beyond that is the grand archway that stands proudly to welcome visitors day in, day out.
There the 13-arch White Rainbow Bridge ferries visitors across Jurong Lake to and from the main West Entrance.
The West Entrance is boarded up for construction, but still accessible to pedestrians for entry and exit.
Traipsing deeper around the Chinese Garden, we somehow find ourselves entangled in the web of twelve Chinese Zodiac animal sculptures scattered within the Garden of Abundance.
By some mystical force, we are drawn towards the Dogs and give them a goodbye wave as we pass by…
…and as we approach the Pigs, we feel compelled to greet them with a big “Hello”.
Perching on the Monkey’s head, the Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris) appears to be trying very hard to look like the thirteenth zodiac statue.
The Bonsai Garden, open daily from 9am to 5pm, showcases an impressive collection of more than 2,000 well-groomed bonsais housed in manicured courtyards winding around Suzhou-style buildings.
The peaceful ambience of the garden attracts a variety of birds to bond with the bonsais, including the Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier).
The Malayan Water Monitor (Varanus salvator) is a common sight, but sometimes rival males may break up into a fight and we don’t want to be near them when that happens.
While the Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum has closed down and moved to a new location, live turtles can still be seen wandering around the surrounding lake and gardens.
Skulking around in the reeds is the Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis), ever patiently waiting for his prey to pay him a visit.
A fairly common sight is the White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus), who is apt to make funny duck noises while crouching in the bushes.
On occasion, the Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor) may pop out of his hidey-hole and try to take a peek at passersby.
Arching across the lake is a white stone bridge that will transport us to a fascinating land in a whole new country – the Japanese Garden.
Peaceful zen awaits us in the Japanese Garden…
…a place decorated with Torii gates…
…and red bridges.
The Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea) seem to enjoy the serenity of the Japanese Garden so much…
…that they have decided to build their own high-rise condominium right in the middle of the Japanese Garden, on prime land close to many amenities.
With all units boasting unblocked lake-views, their cozy nook is very conducive for child-rearing.
A large family of Smooth-coated Otters (Lutrogale perspicillata), affectionately known as the Jurong Lake Family, has also set up home in the area…
…amusing visitors to no end with their antics.
A bunch of them were huddled up together, looking like they were doing the team cheer…
…but we soon realized that they were actually sharing a big piece of fish.
Even though the Chinese and Japanese Gardens are now closed for renovation, there is so much more to explore at Lakeside Garden that opened in April 2019.