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Japanese Tea Garden

The oldest Japanese garden in the United States is an oasis of calm and a place to soothe the soul, nestled away in Golden Gate Park.

Located inside Golden Gate Park, directly next door to the de Young Museum, this beautiful garden is a real treat for the senses and a wonderful oasis of calm in the middle of this busy city. There are beautifully sculpted gardens, miniature pagodas, small streams, stone lanterns, ponds containing huge koi fish, and cherry blossom trees. The scenery is very photogenic and there are so many intricate details to discover as you walk over the moon bridge and along the winding pathways. Take your time looking round. Don’t rush. There’s so much to enjoy here.

The garden was designed and developed by landscape gardener Baron Makato Hagiwara back in 1894 and was intended as a temporary exhibit for the World’s Fair in San Francisco. When the fair closed, however, Hagiwara decided it should remain and become a permanent feature. The Hagiwara family maintained the garden right up until 1942.

Spend a few tranquil moments in the meditative Zen Garden, dedicated at the same time as the 4082-kilogramme Lantern of Peace, as a symbol of friendship for future generations. Listen to the relaxing sound of the many water features while you kick back and enjoy the scenery.

Hagiwara brought 1000 cherry blossom trees all the way from Japan to the garden during its construction. Today, the Japanese Tea Garden, a glorious sight all year-round, is worth a visit during the spring when these trees and the garden’s many azaleas are in full bloom. These spectacular blooms are transient but bring real beauty to the garden at this time of year. For a visual treat, the autumn is another good time to visit, when the leaves present a rich and colourful display.

Overlooking the garden’s beautiful landscape and pond, you’ll find the Tea House. Finish your walk here by enjoying a refreshing cup of green or jasmine tea. Tuck into a steaming bowl of miso soup or buy a fortune cookie for a few words of wisdom. If you happen to be visiting on a Wednesday or a Friday morning, from mid-March to January, kimono-wearing staff members perform a traditional tea ceremony, demonstrating centuries-old rituals and practices that present the matcha, a powdered green tea.


Guide to Exploring Japanese Tea Garden


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