Sister City Seating Areas commemorate San José’s special relationship with particular cities throughout the world and give residents a tiny glimpse into those cultures. Several Sister City Gardens are in place in the park. Each is similar in scale, proportion and purpose, using plant and paving materials native to each country to express some of the country’s identity and culture. Partially enclosed, the gardens are designed to give visitors a retreat from the pressures of daily life and a window onto the river and its natural environment.
Veracruz and Guadalajara, Mexico
On the west bank overlooking the river and the Children’s Discovery Museum, this homage to Veracruz, Mexico, features rust-colored Adoquin paving stone and cobblestone insets, giving the space the craftsman quality typical of Mexican gardens. The Veracruz sister-city relationship was established in 1975, and with the establishment of a sister-city relationship with Guadalajara in 2014, the two cities share the site.
San Jose, Costa Rica
This garden sits in the shadow of a heritage Casuarina tree and features a specimen multi-trunked Jacaranda tree and Adoquin stone from Mexico. Tiles donated by the people of San José, Costa Rica, are used on the extended seat wall. The San José, Costa Rica, relationship was established in 1961.
Okayama’s was the first of San José’s sister-city partnerships to be established, in 1957. This reflective garden sits on the east bank of the river, between the River Park Towers and the Center for Performing Arts. Academy black granite stone interspersed with moss and fine-leafed grasses reflect the peacefulness of a Japanese garden, with a gray Sierra granite seat furthering the simple elegance. A bronze plaque tells the story of Momotaro, the Peach Boy, and a statue of Momotaro donated by the city of Okayama stands watch over the garden. The landscape includes a Japanese maple, heavenly bamboo, and mondo grass.
Looking south from the steep banks of the Guadalupe River across Discovery Meadow, this garden features a 60-foot tall illuminated flag pole flying the Dublin flag. A poet’s rock, engraved by Irish poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy, has an understory of Irish clover that appears around St. Patrick’s Day. The ground plane is covered with masonry-style cream flueri limestone paving, and a donated historic lamp post sits in the seat wall, not far from a specimen Washington thorn tree. The Dublin relationship was established in 1986.
The plantings and colors in this garden reflect Taiwan’s tropical climate. Tree of heaven and bamboo greet the visitor at the entrance, with red granite paving and varieties of tropical grasses setting the mood. This site commemorating the sister-city relationship with Tainan, Taiwan, established in 1977, also features a marble table and benches, donated by the city of Tainan.
From its early days as an agricultural settlement, to its growth under the Maratha (MARAH-THAH) Empire during the 1500’s, Pune, India, has had a long and colorful history. San Jose and Pune established a sister city relationship in 1992 and have carried on a cultural partnership since. Although Pune is known for its rich agriculture and universities, the city has also become one of the largest growing information and technology regions in India. The Pune sister city seating area features a statue that was donated by the city on July 3, 1999. Shivaji founded Pune in 1640 and was a modern warrior who fought foreign invaders and established a Maratha kingdom that lasted for 200 years, with the capital being Pune. To commemorate the statue’s installation, Pune’s Mayor traveled to the park to formally dedicate the statue as a gift to the people of San Jose.
The site for this garden is located north of Coleman Avenue, but has not been developed yet.