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Japanese Tea Garden Tips (49)

The Japanese Tea Gardens

While I was in San Francisco, back in 2002, I had an opportunity to briefly visit The Japanese Tea Gardens. Originally it was created as a "Japanese Village" exhibit, for the Midwinter International Exposition in California in 1894. It was a tranquil and pleasant place to wander round with its Japanese features including its bridges and pagodas,

After the fair closed, Makato Hagiwara, a Japanese landscape architect, enthusiastically and passionately designed and created a permanent Japanese style garden as a posterity gift to the city. The garden was expanded to 5 acres. History dictated unforeseeable circumstances when Mr Hagiwara and his family was forbidden to return to his house in the gardens after the Second World War which led the gardens seeing new additions.

Further information can be found here including visiting information.

spidermiss's Profile Photo
Jun 22, 2016

Japanese Tea Garden

The Japanese Tea Garden, the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States located inside Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California.

It was originally created as a “Japanese Village” exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, the site originally spanned about one acre and showcased a Japanese style garden. When the fair closed, Japanese landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara and superintendent John McLaren a agreed to create and maintain a permanent Japanese style garden as a gift for posterity. In 1942 the garden expanded 5 acres, it's current size of When Japanese Americans were relocated the Hagiwara family was not allowed to return to their home at the tea garden and in subsequent years, many Hagiwara family treasures were removed and new additions were made.

Today, the Japanese Tea Garden is a popular attractions in San Francisco, featuring classic elements such as an arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping stone paths, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds and a zen garden. Cherry blossom trees bloom throughout the garden in March and April.

They are opened daily from 9 until 6 in the summer and 4:45 in the winter. Admission is free at 10:00 AM on
Monday Wednesday and Friday.

apbeaches's Profile Photo
Jan 08, 2016

such a beautiful peaceful place

We were only in town for less than 2 days .. but we came here and I highly recommend it. It was so lovely and peaceful.
great place for pictures and kids seemed to like it. We visited in the spring and it was one of the highlights of our visit to the city.

chattygirl7491's Profile Photo
May 12, 2015

Tea House of the Savage Mob

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:

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

goodfish's Profile Photo
May 27, 2010
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My favorite spot in Golden Gate Park

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

Jefie's Profile Photo
Oct 06, 2009

Japanese Tea Gardens

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.

J_Lyons's Profile Photo
Aug 26, 2009

Finding your zen

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.

ashmantoronto's Profile Photo
Jan 30, 2009

Asian calm in Golden Gate park

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.

sarahandgareth's Profile Photo
Aug 28, 2008

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Japanese Tea Garden

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.

grandmaR's Profile Photo
May 23, 2008

Japanese Tea Garden

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.

poetjo's Profile Photo
Jan 29, 2008

Japanese Tea Garden - Yes, it IS worth it!

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)

Karnubawax's Profile Photo
Dec 14, 2007

Romantic Ride

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

Oct 19, 2007

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Getting to Japanese Tea Garden


75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., San Francisco, CA 94118


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