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|
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).
|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.|
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.
|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?