Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 46 Reviews

Located in Golden Gate Park 415-752-4227

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  • Japanese Tea Gardens, Golden Gate Park, SF
    Japanese Tea Gardens, Golden Gate Park,...
    by spidermiss
  • The garden's tea house
    The garden's tea house
    by Jefie
  • On top of the half moon bridge
    On top of the half moon bridge
    by Jefie
  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Tea House of the Savage Mob

    by goodfish Updated May 27, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Buddha assuming
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    We arrived here looking for a little serenity and emerged needing valium. The garden has been a fixture since 1894 and described as having "peaceful waters" over which one can have a "meditative cup of tea" and foliage that "invites quiet reflection." Right. I found being flattened by chattering tour-bus herds hellbent on snapping pictures of everyone, from every angle, in every otherwise-tranquil spot to be a less than zen-like experience? Eeesh.

    I'm sure it's pretty - if you can see around the fifty people in front of you.

    Here's a nice web page with history and detailed descriptions of the botanicals and decorative enhancements:

    http://www.inetours.com/Pages/SFNbrhds/Japanese_Tea_Garden.html

    See the link below for entrance fees, hours, location and stuff.

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    My favorite spot in Golden Gate Park

    by Jefie Updated Oct 6, 2009

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    A Japanese pagoda at the Japanese Tea Garden
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    The one thing we decided to make time for at the Golden Gate Park was a visit to the Japanese Tea Garden, and I'm really glad that we did. This beautifully landscaped garden was created in 1894 as part of the California Midwinter International Exposition - it was the very first Japanese Garden to be created in the US and it became such a success with visitors that its designer, Makoto Hagiwara, suggested turning it into a permanent attraction. Over a century later, the Japanese Tea Garden is still as beautiful and just as popular as it was in its beginnings. Although it might not look very big from the outside, it took us over an hour to walk though the garden - I have to admit that our walk was mostly impeded by the garden's numerous photogenic features! It was also impossible to leave without stopping by the tea house, where there is a nice selection of tea and desserts that you can enjoy in a wonderful setting. Our visit to the Japanese Tea Garden was by far the best part of our quick tour of Golden Gate Park!

    The Japanese Tea Garden is open daily from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. Admission: $3.50

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  • J_Lyons's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Gardens

    by J_Lyons Written Aug 26, 2009

    If you enjoy gardening as a hobby or even just appreciate well planned gardens, this comes highly recommended on my list of things to do in SF. Its a nice get away from the busy city rush and a peaceful place to enjoy some of the simpler things in life. Its a gorgeous, well maintained garden that will definitely help you relax. I didnt try the tea but it looked like a great spot to sit and enjoy tea with the garden and water features surrounding you. Across the way is the botanical gardens which is another great stroll away from the busy city.

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  • ashmantoronto's Profile Photo

    Finding your zen

    by ashmantoronto Written Jan 30, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Entrance to the beautiful garden
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    Having to walk all day around San Francisco (and mind you, walking around this city isn't as easy as you think, especially if you're climbing uphill) it's nice to find a quiet place to just enjoy the beauty of nature...even in the middle of November!
    It's actually a great time to come around the fall when the weather is cool so you can walk around the garden, admire the pagodas, listen to the birds, and lose yourself in this botanical garden. After walking around, head to the mini-cafe where you can enjoy fresh brewed Japanese tea and some tea snacks.

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  • sarahandgareth's Profile Photo

    Asian calm in Golden Gate park

    by sarahandgareth Updated Aug 28, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Japanese Tea Garden Bridge

    The Japanese Tea Garden is one of San Francisco's most distinctive stops, built over a century ago, though it has undergone many changes (including a different name during a period of anti-Japanese sentiment around World War II).

    The garden is an island of calm in the midst of the busy Golden Gate park, with its beautifully crafted landscapes, its unusual collection of stone lanterns, and the twisting paths that take you around and over the various streams and ponds.

    Most of the visitors are concentrated near the gift shop and tea room: you can easily find quieter corners, especially early in the day or outside the high tourist season, despite the small scale of the garden.

    After you've explored, have a cup of tea and some cookies at the sheltered tea room: try and get a seat looking out over the water and look over the left to see the evocation, in plant form, of Mount Fuji, so important in Japanese culture and art.

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Garden

    by grandmaR Updated May 23, 2008

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    Tea Garden in April 1966
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    We spent considerable time in this garden which is part of Golden Gate Park

    The Japanese Tea Garden was originally built as part of the 1894 Midwinter Fair by an Australian. There are paths, ponds and a teahouse and it features native Japanese and Chinese plants.

    From the website: "Also hidden throughout its five acres are beautiful sculptures and bridges. Makato Hagiwara, a Japanese gardener whose family took over the garden from 1895 to 1942, also invented the fortune cookie."

    Admission $3.50, children 6-12 and seniors 65+ $1.25; last hour is free. Tea Garden open daily, 8:30 am-5:30 pm. Teahouse open 10 am-5:15 pm.

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  • poetjo's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Garden

    by poetjo Written Jan 29, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    It is so beautiful here. The setting peacefull, quiet, serene with an air of tradition and culture. Ornate pagodas, stately buddhas, lush foliage, lily ponds and a gorgeous setting. I love it here. I'll get out to the garden about once a month and just soak in the beauty of it all. It's a great place for meditation and contemplation of any form. There's also a great little gift shop and if obviously if you like tea, this is the place for you.

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  • Karnubawax's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Garden - Yes, it IS worth it!

    by Karnubawax Updated Dec 14, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Japanese Tea Garden is a lovely little patch of shrubbery and pagodas just to the left of the new DeYoung Museum. And, yes, despite what others may say, it is worth it. The gardens are well maintained, and the bridges and pagodas are beautiful. It's a great place to take some pictures, or just go for a little stroll with your sweetie.

    The tea house is fun, especially on a rainy day. It is pricey - I think tea service for two is something like $9 - but it's a great break from a day of running around the park.

    Hours of operation:
    March thru October - 8:30 - 6
    November thru February - 8:30 - 5

    Admission is $3.50 for adults, less for kids
    First and Last hours of each day are free
    1st Wed of the month half price (Sep. thru May only)

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  • Romantic Ride

    by Manyana Updated Oct 19, 2007

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    temple
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    as much as i like folk architecture and roaming around different cultures, this garden was great. this cosy place is the romantic part of the Golden Gate Park. with its japenese atmosphere and scenery, it makes it a good option for having a wedding ceremony.

    as usual, i'm not interested in this historical detail of this place, but i believe that the japanese when they came to SF wanted to have their heritage alive so they had a symbol of what reminds them of home - so i was told and i bought it, nice story!

    there is a souvenir shop, a stream, a gate, a steep japanese bridge!, a couple of little and tiny temples, and a place where you have your japanese tea:D

    entrance fee: avg $4
    Opening time: until 6pm

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  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

    by SteveOSF Written Dec 18, 2006

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    Entrance to  the Japanese Tea Garden

    The picturesque gardens are not too large and worthy of a mid-day stroll. They are adjacent to the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park. The gardens have a small admission, but it is well worth it, especially if you've never been there.

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  • Escadora7's Profile Photo

    Japanes Tea Garden

    by Escadora7 Written Oct 21, 2006

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    Built during the 1894 Winter Exposition, this is the oldest public Japanese Garden in California. It is nice for a quite zen-like stroll on a sunny afternoon. There are numerous ponds spread throughout the garden, connected through various bridges and walk-ways. The gardens are well taken care of and provide great photo-opportunities (huge Buddha-statue, peace-lantern, moon-bridge, temple gate, etc.). After your stroll you can relax in the tea-house, being served in authentic japanese tradition (Kimonos and all). Of course, no tourist site would be complete without the souvenier-shop. (Prices are higher here than at the Pier and Chinatown.)

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  • kathybrownlee's Profile Photo

    get out of the city

    by kathybrownlee Written Jul 25, 2006
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    the japanese tea garden is a heaven in the middle of the city! well just on the outskirts of the city!

    we got there by train/tram. it was really weird as we got on a bart train and when we exited the underground the train turned into a tram! it was great. but the garden was easy to reach and then there are plenty of other things to see in the park.

    we then took a bus to the golden gate bridge......very handy. i would recommend a travel pass as it allows travel on buses, cable cars, trams!

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  • Take a stroll through the garden

    by RblWthACoz Written Jul 16, 2006
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    Patiently manicured and thoughtfully planned out gardens await you at this small Japanese Tea Garden next door to the DeYoung Museum. The scenery really is beautiful as are the structures and sculptures around. As I walked around, I wished that there was more to see.

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  • painterdave's Profile Photo

    Serene Japanese Tea Garden

    by painterdave Written Mar 21, 2006

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    If you are near Golden Gate Park and are tiring of walking the streets of the city, this might be a good time for a quiet break in the Japanese Tea Garden.
    This area was created by the city to honor its citizens who have Japanese heritage. It is a peaceful place much like a visit to Japan. Pools, trees, pathways and Japanese architecture await the visitor.
    You can also sit and drink tea and enjoy Japanese munchies sold by girls in costume.
    This is a nice place to visit. Don't miss it.
    Shown here is a magnificent curved bridge in the center of the garden.

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  • painterdave's Profile Photo

    A Bit of Japan in San Francisco

    by painterdave Written Mar 16, 2006

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    1 more image

    The city of San Francisco has created a beatiful Japanese Tea Garden. Walk through the garden and enjoy the serene setting which feels miles away from the streets of the city. There are some beautiful architectural structures and many photogenic spots. I am including some below.
    In the Tea Garden is a small covered area where tea and Japanese munchies are served. It isn't very expensive and you can sit and people watch and enjoy the setting.
    This is just a small part of Golden Gate Park but is worth the time to take it in. If you have children and are from a part of the U.S. where there are few Asian Americans, you could turn this experience into a mini field trip for your kids.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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