Ridout Tea Garden (former Queenstown Japanese Garden) is Singapore’s first Japanese-themed community garden. The landscaped garden was opened in 1970 to provide more recreational facilities for flat dwellers in Queenstown. The original garden comprised a large pool with lights and fountain, a U-shaped row of shops housed in three verandas and a series of wooden bridges and pavilions.
On 26 June 1978, a huge blaze began at a furniture shop located in the middle of the U-shaped row of shops. The architectural layout of the shops prevented firemen from containing the fire and the entire garden was soon engulfed in flames. As most of the shops were closed when the fire broke out, there were no casualties.
Out of the ashes of the former Queenstown Japanese Garden, the Housing and Development Board built a new garden in 1980. Reopened under its new name, Ridout Tea Garden, the 1.38 hectare recreation site comprised a single-storey eating house pavilion, a tea kiosk and a Japanese-styled garden.
Ridout Tea Garden is one of the focal points of Queenstown housing estate. Every weekend, Tay Ah Keow (b.1945) and her husband would bring her 3 children to the gardens for a stroll. "My son will prepare a bag of breadcrumbs at home and feed the giant terrapins and fishes in the pond."