Tucked away in Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, is a lush and tranquil retreat.
HISTORY OF THE JAPANESE TEA GARDEN IN SAN FRANCISCO
Billed as the oldest public Japanese tea garden in the U.S., this Golden Gate park attraction was created in 1894 as part of the California Midwinter International Exposition. Originally covering only one acre, the park was then expanded to its present five acres by Makoto Hagiwara, who became caretaker after the exposition.
In fact, the Hagiwara family acted as the garden’s caretakers until 1942 when the family was sent to an internment camp during WWII. They were not allowed to return after the war’s end.
VISITING THE JAPANESE TEA GARDEN
The garden is open daily year-round starting at 9 am and closes at 6 pm in the summer and 4:45 pm in the winter. Visit the website for more details. If you arrive before 10 am, you can get in for free. After 10 am, admission is $8 for adults, $2 for kids ages 5 to 11, and those under age 5 are free.
Upon entering, you’ll be transformed out of the bustling city and into a quiet sanctuary. There are bridges, stone pathways, and pagodas. Further into the garden, you’ll find a zen garden and a koi pond.
MAKE TIME FOR THE TEA HOUSE IN GOLDEN GATE PARK
You can’t visit the tea garden without stopping by the tea house. Tucked in the middle of the garden is an open air tea house that serves tea and snacks. Interesting fact: Makoto Hagiwara is credited with bringing the fortune cookie to the U.S. from Japan sometime beteween 1890 and 1910.
AS PART OF A GREAT DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO
I’d recommend putting aside anywhere from one to two hours to visit the gardens. Because it’s not an all day stop, you can easily combine your visit with other nearby attractions. The day we went, we also toured the California Academy of Sciences and walked to the Grateful Dead House. We did not rent a car while in San Francisco, so we traveled by Uber to and from the Golden Gate Park Area.
If you’re looking for a convenient place to stay, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Parc 55 San Francisco – a Hilton Hotel, and Hilton San Francisco Financial District are each just a short distance (less than 5 miles) from Golden Gate Park.
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.