Everything You Need to Know About The Japanese Tea Garden
This tranquil escape within Golden Gate Park is full of history, culture, and beauty.
There are many exciting attractions in San Francisco to enjoy; but when you want serenity, tranquility, and harmony, visit San Francisco's Japanese Tea Garden.
You’ll find this oasis in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It’s one of the city’s quietest and best-kept corners. The intricate design and greenery calm all who enter looking to escape noisy urban life. The garden also happens to be the oldest continuously maintained Japanese public garden outside of Japan, attracting visitors since 1894.
Follow our guide to best enjoy the five acres of natural beauty at the Japanese Tea Garden.
How and Why the Japanese Tea Garden Came to Be
In 1894, California held a Midwinter International Exposition. It was on this site, originally just one acre, that a Japanese-style garden was built.
After the fair, Makoto Hagiwara, a Japanese landscape architect, was tasked with maintaining the property as a permanent garden. It became Hagiwara’s life’s passion. As the official caretaker, he lovingly planted, tended, and cared for the trees and plants, expanding this masterpiece until it encompassed nearly five acres. Some of the trees in this garden are more than one hundred years old.
Tranquil Escape in the City
The Japanese Tea Garden is made of rock sculptures, “dry” or zen gardens, Japanese architectural structures, and waterfalls. Its open spaces contrast with tighter corners of hedges. There is a thoughtful design throughout, and the cultural influences are everywhere, from edges trimmed to resemble Mt. Fiji in Japan to the Drum Bridge almost floating over reflective waters below.