Jackson Park was originally laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Ho-o-den (Phoenix) Temple was built by the Japanese Government for the 1893 Worlds Columbian Exhibition and was one of the few buildings to remain after the fair closed. In 1933, the Japanese Government again assisted in the development of the Garden and Traditional Nippon Tea House for the Century of Progress World’s Fair. The Ho-o-den Temple survived until just after WWII, but was destroyed by a fire in 1946. In the past 50 years it has been renovated several times in cooperation with the city of Osaka Japan and has a strong historical connection with the Japanese American Community in Chicago. The original traditional Japanese Garden was designed by George Shimoda.
The garden which exists today is small, but well designed and well maintained. It sits on a small wooded island sitting in a large shallow pond. There is a traditional Japanese Garden Wall and Entry Gate, leading to a Tea House (or Pavilion) at the top of the hill with a path winding down to a waterfall that falls into a Koi Pond with a Japanese Bridge in the distance. The Trees and Landscape Plantings are in excellent condition, Cherry, Crab and Service Berry, as well as many evergreens, mixed in with good rock formations and some rare carved stone sculptures. The Kasuga Lantern is one of the lamps that survived from 1893 – It takes its name from the Kasuga Shrine in Nara, Japan.
The City of Chicago is currently renovating Jackson Park with The Garden of the Phoenix as the center point of the new City Park and Amphitheater.