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
  • 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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  • painterdave's Profile Photo

    A Bit of Japan in San Francisco

    by painterdave Written Mar 16, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    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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  • 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

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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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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  • Andraf's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Garden

    by Andraf Updated Mar 21, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco
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    Located in the Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Tea Garden is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco. It was established in 1894 and for many years it was tended by the Japanese gardener Makota Hagiwara. The garden is made of a maze of winding paths lined with Japanese trees, shrubs and flowers, a few ponds and a wooden pagoda. The Moon Bridge takes its name from its form and close to the tea tables one can find a large statue of Buddha that was cast in Japan in 1790. The open teahouse offers tea and cookies and is a perfect place for relaxation.

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  • Jessica88's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Garden

    by Jessica88 Updated Feb 21, 2006

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    The Japanese structures amongst the shrubbery.
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    "I don't know of any city where you can walk through so many culturally diverse neighbourhoods and you're never out of sight of the wild hills. Nature is very close here." Gary Snyder

    These tea gardens are a private, recluse from the city and are incredibly beautiful to walk around. Throughout the five acres of shrubbery, you can find authentic Japanese architecture, bridges and ponds filled with Koi. You can really see the diversity of San Francisco here and their blossoming Asian community, especially as you begin to forget you're even in California! As someone who has always been interested in Eastern culture, it really was a great experience. Although I'm not one for gardening or particularly interested in it, you simply get a feeling when you're in the tea gardens for the culture. My favourite memory of our visit here, was inside the tea house. Here, you can sample traditional teas, using healthy, authentic ingredients in true Japanese style. A selection of teas are avaliable and I was so taken with the green tea that I purchased some on the spot! They also offered us some complementary snacks, amongst them fortune cookies for the kitsch lovers amongst you, something I got a little too excited over! There were few crowds and the gardens were extremely tranquil, something I would really recommend, especially as it gives you incentive to discover the rest of Golden Gate Park.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture
    • National/State Park

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  • tarced's Profile Photo

    Peaceful, Easy Feeling

    by tarced Written Jun 10, 2005

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Along the paths

    The title says it all. Walking through the Japanese Tea Garden gave us a feeling of inner peace and balance. The landscape was beautiful and the architecture adds to it rather than detracts from it. Strolling on the natural paths took us from area to area where there was a new architectual or landscaping focus. There is also an area where you can drink tea while you enjoy your surroundings. Coming here, we felt that we had found yet another area of San Francisco that had a completely different feeling from any other. If you are high strung and don't like to relax, this place is not for you. But for those of us who enjoy a calming, peaceful environment, I would highly recommend taking the time to discover these gardens.

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  • 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.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Seniors

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  • Escadora7's Profile Photo

    Japanes Tea Garden

    by Escadora7 Written Oct 21, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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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.)

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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  • tombsp's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Garden - Golden Gate Park

    by tombsp Updated Jan 3, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sally on the Bridge

    Firstly, I must say that I would have expected something a little bit larger considering that we had to pay to enter.

    That aside the gardens is beautifully landscaped with interesting buildings and sculptures. If your in the area its a very tranquil and relaxing place to wander round and even have a cup of tea, but I wouldn’t make a special visit.

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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.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • National/State Park

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  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

    by SteveOSF Written Dec 18, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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  • dila's Profile Photo

    japanes tea garden

    by dila Updated Jun 27, 2003

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    japanese tea garden

    it was a beatiful garden.
    The tea garden began as a 1894 World's Fair Exhibit called the Japanese Village created by Baron Makoto Hagiwara.
    Tea Garden opening hours: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
    Tea House opening hours: 10 am-5:15 pm
    Admission $3.50.
    more pictures see travelogue.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • monika79's Profile Photo

    Peace and Serenity!

    by monika79 Updated Dec 6, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Japanese Tea Garden is 4 acres of traditional Japanese appreciation for harmony and balance. The garden features carp ponds, waterfalls, bonsai trees, and Japanese style buildings.
    You can also stop at the tea house which offers a selection of teas and a complementary bowl of cookies :-)
    Beauty at its finest!!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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