Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

group of people taking photos in front on the Japanese tea garden entrance

The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco is a beautiful location enjoyed as much by locals as by travelers. Located inside of the sprawling magnificence of Golden Gate Park, it is a retreat within a retreat, a getaway from the city where you can go to enjoy a relaxing hour or two. The Japanese Tea Garden is inexpensive, costing only a few dollars for entry and a few more for a pot of tea and some snacks. But the wealth of peacefulness that can be found is immeasurable.

It has been a part of San Francisco’s history since the nineteenth century. The Tea Garden was first built in 1894 as a part of the Midwinter Fair that was held in Golden Gate Park. Although the Japanese Tea Garden has changed some over the years, there are still many qualities which are reminiscent of its nineteenth century design. The SF Japanese Tea Garden Tea House is one of those things. Another is a steep round bridge, known as The Moon Bridge or The Drum Bridge, which many travelers have climbed to take pictures atop, showing that they have visited the historical Japanese Tea Garden.

Although travelers do come because it is a tourist attraction with this deep history, people also come here just to relax and enjoy the peaceful environment that it offers. Both travelers and locals go daily to spend time in the quiet greenery that fills the Tea Garden. The garden covers five acres of land through which you can walk along sidewalk paths seeing Buddhist statues, plant life and the Sunken Garden. Although there are frequently other visitors to join you in exploring, it is easy to find a quiet space by yourself to relax, meditate or simply look at the plant life in the gardens. On a lucky day, you may also be able to see the koi fish that swim in the front ponds.

In San Francisco, there are many chilly days caused by the fog and the natural weather climate of the area. Visitors often escape this chill by enjoying a nice pot of hot tea at the Japanese Tea Garden. The tea is brought out to you at a table underneath a gazebo, served by women in authentic Japanese costumes who help to give visitors the genuine experience of a tea house. There are several different kinds of tea offered at the tea house along with cookies and crackers for snacks. Other snacks from Japan can be purchased at the tea house or at the nearby Japanese Tea Garden gift shop. Visitors can also pick up souvenirs at the gift shop such as jade figurines, ceramic sushi platters and books about the history of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.

Before or after visiting, you may want to take some time to explore the other sights offered by Golden Gate Park. Equally peaceful is the nearby Botanical Gardens. The Japanese Tea Garden is also in close proximity to Stowe Lake and the DeYoung Museum. Golden Gate Park is impressively large, containing many different sights. The Japanese Tea Garden just happens to be one that stands out because of the history that it holds, the peacefulness that can be obtained there and the unique experience that it offers.