Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thing To Do In San Francisco: Japanese Tea Garden

There is a Japanese Tea Garden located inside of Golden Gate Park.  It is the oldest Japanese Garden in the United States, built in 1894 as part of the World's Fair. There are over 5 acres to hike through that include a Koi pond, trees and plants imported directly from Japan, and several statues and structures.  The gardens are immaculate, and there is definitely a feeling of peace in the air once you are inside.  If you are in the area, this should definitely be on your short list of places to visit.  You will not regret spending a few hours exploring.  

The south gate was created for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (which was the World's Fair held in San Francisco in celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal).  

Entrance to the Japanese Tea Garden

Koi in the pond

Crane statues

The temple gate and pagoda from a distance

The temple gate and  pagoda, a little bit closer

Japanese pagoda close-up

 Side view of pagoda (OK, I really liked this structure).

Stone pagoda

Steps that lead across the pond

Bronze lantern that has been in the park since 1912.

This bronze Buddha was originally cast in Japan in 1790.

Zen garden
There is a Japanese Tea House located inside of the garden.  My girlfriend and I are both big fans of Japanese food, so we decided to give it a try. We found the food to be mediocre at best, but it was a fun experience.  We enjoyed the variety of teas they provided, and I discovered a love for melon Ramune soda.

Fun Fact:  Fortune cookies are actually Japanese, and were first served in the US at the tea garden.  Original fortune cookies were savory, but changed to a vanilla flavor to appeal to western palettes.

Tea selections

Snacks and desserts

Miso (soup) and tea with O-musubi (rice balls), sesame fried chicken, shrimp dumplings in the background.

California rolls ( cucumber, avocado, crab) , o-inari (rice wrapped in seasoned, fried tofu), shrimp dumplings

Melon flavored Ramune soda and manju (mochi filled with bean paste)

Have you ever been to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park?  What did you think?


E said...

I've never been but it looks gorgeous!

honey my heart said...

the japanese garden looks so peaceful and like a perfect place to spend a summer day. i really like the pagodas and landscaping!

HiFashion said...

That looks like such an incredible place!! It's so beautiful, and food looks delicious!

Adele said...

Stunning! I would love to wile away a few hours here!
Happy Wednesday Hun xoxo
Vote intotheblonde BEST LIFESTYLE BLOG in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012

Emm said...

I really like the 3rd picture from the top. It is very pretty:)

Ginny said...

it´s so beautiful! i loved spending time there! although i never checked out the tea house, because i am not really that much into japanese food! :-)

Mrs. Pancakes said...

What a beautiful place to have lunch!

joanne hegarty said...

This place looks amazing Erin - great pictures too




rooth said...

That's gorgeous. I've been to Japanese gardens in many cities but never in SF. Thanks for sharing this gem in the city

Tina L. Hook said...

So gorgeous. In my former cosmopolitan days I loved visiting formal gardens like these.

If I were in your area I would def. put this on my list.

Gloria said...

Oh how amazing! I'll definitely have to check this out the next time I'm in SF!

Morgan said...

These pictures are so beautiful! What a gorgeous place. I have never been to a Japanese Tea Garden before, but I have been wanting to for a few years.

Stephanie said...

I love the Japanese tea garden! We didn't try any of the food (I'd heard it wasn't that great) but I loved just roaming around and exploring the gardens. I want to do a photo sesh there someday.

Anonymous said...

I love that place! So calming and relaxing!

aki! said...

That food looks pretty good to me! I'd be interested in trying out all the snacks.

Strange that the Japanese garden and Panama have a connection!

Emmy said...

The pics look great, Erin. It might seem cliche, but it does look for zen. Too bad the resto food is not that good:(

Lorena said...

Ok another location i missed while in SF :/
I had never heard of Fortune cookies being japanese... how interesting.

About Last Weekend said...

Haven't been there in such a long time, thanks for reminding me to take the kids there. Looks like you got yourself a gorgeous day. I like the look of those scrummy titbits they serve.

My-cliffnotes said...

Beautiful, I want to go there sometimes.

Love your blog, your header is so cute too.


Sam said...

Love Japanese inspired gardens, we have one or two here but nothing compared to this one. Its absolutely breathtaking!

Loulou said...

How lovely. So neat to see your pictures of this interesting and historical place. I've been in the Japanese Garden in Vancouver and was so taken with the calmness and beauty.

Anonymous said...

All the food looks so good and the place is absolutely gorgeous!

Amy Fashion Blog said...

great pictures

Jenny @ Spry On The Wall said...

Oh it's so beautiful! Great pictures, it was like taking a mini vacation! Thanks!

Martie @ Spunkyrella said...

The Zen garden looks so very nice.... and so do those mochis ;)

SizzleandZoom said...

Wow...this is gorgeous. I didn't even know it was there.

Kim (A Very Sweet Blog) said...

this is EXQUISITE!!! i love the Koi in pond. So tranquil and peaceful. Yummy food! Thanks for sharing this treasure.

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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