Originally, we were not going to venture too far from the Fisherman’s Wharf area during our recent whirlwind trip to San Francisco. Then I discovered the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park and my friend recommended Uber. It seemed too good to pass up. Needless to say, we made a special trip to the park to visit the garden. Not only do I not regret making the special trip but it might have been one of my favorite things we did during our visit.
Nestled quietly in a corner of the Golden Gate Park, just around the corner from the de Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States. The gardens morphed out of the original exhibit which was from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition. Today, the five acre garden is full of beautifully manicured and maintained plants, Japanese buildings and statues with amazing history as well as quiet places for reflection. Admire the huge koi swimming happily in the pond or carefully climb the unbelievably steep drum bridge.
In addition to a nice gift shop full of beautiful tea cups and pots — we came home with a tasty bag of hojicha tea — not to be missed at the Japanese Tea Garden is their tea house. You can’t have a tea garden without tea! The tea house is open air so you can take a seat and sit looking over the gardens. Place your order at the register and the staff will deliver it to you. I enjoyed a pot of sencha and the green tea cheesecake while my husband had the hojicha and the kuzumochi. The tea was perfectly brewed and really enjoyable. The green tea of the cheesecake and the fruit flavors of the kuzumochi were a little too faint for my tastes. I’m not sure I’d return for the food, but I’d definitely return for the tea!
Japanese Tea Garden
7 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA