Golden Gate Park is filled with “must-see” places. It holds the California Academy of Science, the deYoung Museum, Conservatory of Flowers, Botanical Gardens, Stowe Lake, Koret Playground with the carousel and a host of other hidden treasures amid this green sanctuary within a bustling city. Today, we visited another one of these spots – the Japanese Tea Garden.
The Japanese Tea Garden has a rich history in San Francisco. It was originally created as a “Japanese Village” exhibit for an international exhibition in 1894. After the fair closed, the creator of the garden moved onto the property to become its caretaker. He poured all of his personal wealth, passion and talents into creating a garden of utmost perfection and lived there with his family until 1942, when they were forced to evacuate their home (along with many Japanese Americans) to move into internment camps. Sadly, they were not allowed to return to their home there even after the war ended.
Today, the Japanese Tea Garden is over 5 acres and beckons visitors to bask in the calm and quiet of the space, which is filled with pagodas, stone lanterns, stone paths, bonsai trees, koi ponds, a zen garden and an arched drum bridge that was built in Japan and moved here. There is also a Tea House where you can sip a delicious cup of tea and sample popular Japanese refreshments. They also host authentic Japanese tea ceremony demonstrations.
We had a wonderful time wandering around the landscape, admiring the creativity and natural beauty and the littles loved seeing the fish, the little ducks and all of the waterfalls. All in all, it was a great visit, as you can see by the pictures below. I highly recommend you go! (Tip: Entrance is $5 per adult for SF residents and $7 for non-residents, but it is FREE if you arrive before 10am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Children 4 and under are always free.)