For nearly 70 years Garden visitors have been enchanted by the serene pool, waterfalls, lanterns, and stepping stones of the Garden’s Japanese Pool. It provides an elegant home for many Japanese plant specimens and a thriving population of native newts.
When the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island closed in 1939, its Japanese exhibit was donated to the Garden on behalf of the Japanese government, with the aid of a donation from the UC Japanese Alumni Association. The exhibit was comprised of stone from Japan, including lanterns and a bridge displayed as a Japanese garden and pool. Kaneji Domoto, a prominent landscape architect in the Bay Area, assisted in designing the Japanese gardens at the Exposition. He also designed the reinterpretation of the display and supervised Japanese workmen as they placed about 150 boulders to create the waterfalls and pool in the Garden in 1941.
The pool was damaged in October 1962 when it rained 38 centimeters (15 in) in just three days. Boulders and lanterns were swept away by a raging Strawberry Creek. Many of the original boulders were recovered along with one original Yukimi-gata (snow-viewing) lantern. The lantern stands by the pool today; a missing stone ring is a gentle reminder of the October destruction.