Support Local Journalism, Join the SA Current Press Club.

New app adds augmented reality experiences to San Antonio's Japanese Tea Garden 

click to enlarge The new augmented reality app gives visitors a deeper look into the Japanese Tea Garden's history. - COURTESY OF SAN ANTONIO PARKS FOUNDATION / ALEJANDRA SOL CASAS
  • Courtesy of San Antonio Parks Foundation / Alejandra Sol Casas
  • The new augmented reality app gives visitors a deeper look into the Japanese Tea Garden's history.
A new app, being billed as the first of its kind in the nation, aims to make the history of the Japanese Tea Garden more accessible for visitors to the historic San Antonio landmark.

The Japanese Tea Garden Augmented Reality Experience App was developed over the course of 18 months by San Antonio-based Geomedia Inc. in collaboration with the San Antonio Parks Foundation (SAPF).



The project was "inspired by the desire to provide an educational component that allows patrons to appreciate the peace and serenity of the garden, unencumbered by physical signage," according to statement from SAPF.

click to enlarge The app allows visitors to experience an educational component without disrupting the garden with physical signage. - COURTESY OF SAN ANTONIO PARKS FOUNDATION / ALEJANDRA SOL CASAS
  • Courtesy of San Antonio Parks Foundation / Alejandra Sol Casas
  • The app allows visitors to experience an educational component without disrupting the garden with physical signage.
To that end, the app provides a visual history of the garden, a map and several augmented reality locations. The six augmented reality experiences include a selfie with a flying dragon named Kokoro and the virtual release of custom-colored koi into the garden's ponds.

What's more, the software offers a glimpse into the garden's history via photos drawn from the archives of the Institute of Texan Cultures. Some date back to the mid-1800s, when the city leased the land to German masons.

The app is backed by extensive research, according to SAPF.

Ann Enkoji — daughter of Mable Jingu Enkoji, whose family lived at the garden when she was young — contributed by "ensuring historical integrity and representation for the Jingu family, who lived at the garden operating the Bamboo Room beginning in 1926," according to a statement.

click to enlarge One of the app's six AR experiences is a selfie with flying dragon Kokoro. - COURTESY OF SAN ANTONIO PARKS FOUNDATION / ALEJANDRA SOL CASAS
  • Courtesy of San Antonio Parks Foundation / Alejandra Sol Casas
  • One of the app's six AR experiences is a selfie with flying dragon Kokoro.
The project was funded by garden donations and operating profits from the site's Jingu House Restaurant.

In 2022, Parks & Recreation Director Homer Garcia III will present the app at the Urban Green Fair in Kumamoto, Japan — a San Antonio sister city.

The Japanese Tea Garden app is available for free download on the Apple and Google Play stores.

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation