Thursday's Child: Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My mother, my youngest daughter and I recently visited San Francisco in celebration of my mom’s eightieth birthday.  Before we went, I asked everyone to list what they most wanted to see.  At the top of my daughter’s list was Golden Gate Park.  Of course she wanted to visit the amazing California Academy of Sciences (which is located in the park) but she also mentioned the Japanese Tea Garden.  I’m so grateful that she did, because visiting this beautiful garden definitely enhanced our trip.

The Japanese Tea Garden was built in the late nineteenth century for the California Midwinter Expo.  After the fair was over, a local Japanese-American gardener, Makoto Hagiwara, entered into an agreement to maintain and upgrade it.  As part of that agreement, he brought in goldfish, cherry trees and other native plants from Japan.


The garden does have a sad history.  In 1942, Hagiwara and his family were sent to an internment camp like so many other Japanese-Americans and Canadians.  Experiencing the garden's tranquility made me realize how difficult it must have been for them to leave this lovely place.


The cherry trees were in bloom when we visited, and the pagodas, the dramatic Arch Bridge and the zen garden all contributed to the serenity that make the Japanese Tea Garden a true respite in the city.



21 comments:

Bonnie said...

Beth, I was fortunate to visit the gardens when I was in SF last summer. It is amazing to find those beautiful gardens hidden within the city. I live in SF for a short while 17 years ago, and never had the chance to visit. Beautiful pictures. Bonnie

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

What a beautiful area! I'm so glad you got to see it in person - and how special that you got to share it with both your mother and your daughter!

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow - that's truly gorgeous! What a stunning place.

So hard to believe those internment camps existed - so sad.

yummychunklet said...

Beautiful pagoda!

Julia said...

I love Japanese style gardens - they are always so pretty! Never been to the one in San Francisco - but now I know!

Vicki Bensinger said...

We've been to San Francisco so many times but we've never visited the Japanese Tea Garden. It looks lovely. I'll have to put that on my list the next time we're there. Thank you for sharing this.

Catherine said...

Dear Beth, A very blessed and happy birthday to your mom. What a beautiful blessing to celebrate this occasion.
The tea garden looks absolutely magnificent. A beautiful suggestion from your daughter.
Blessings, Catherine xo

Natalie Aguirre said...

Beautiful place but a sad history.

I Wilkerson said...

This brought back great memories for me. My best friend from high school moved to California junior year and I went there to visit over Christmas break. The mother of one of her friends thought I wasn't seeing enough of the sights and took me here--and act of kindness (and lovely day) that I've never forgotten.

I Wilkerson said...

This brought back great memories for me. My best friend from high school moved to California junior year and I went there to visit over Christmas break. The mother of one of her friends thought I wasn't seeing enough of the sights and took me here--and act of kindness (and lovely day) that I've never forgotten.

Natalie G said...

What a beautiful place, I would love to visit one day.

Medeia Sharif said...

That's truly breathtaking.

Patty Price said...

We loved visiting the Japanese Tea Garden, such a beautiful place with wonderful memories-I'm glad you visited with your mother and daughter!

Liz Berg said...

Such a gorgeous, idyllic spot. We visited a few summers ago...and now I want to go back!

Guru Uru said...

This tea garden is lovely my friend :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Paula Montenegro said...

We have a Japanese garden in the middle of the city too, and I just realized I never visited it. At least not as an adult. I need to go asap! Lovely post Beth!

Joanne said...

Wow how gorgeous!! I've been to SF MANY times and have never been here...going to have to plan it into my next trip!

Angie Schneider said...

Beautiful Japanese garden!

bakewithjill.com said...

So lovely. I know I was there many, many years ago but hardly remember it now. If I get back to SF, it will be a must-see!

Claudia said...

I spent a lot of time in Golden Gate Park - and don't recall ever seeing the tea gardens. Where was my head? This is just lovely.

Gina Stanley said...

I love the tea garden, my great grandmother used to take me there for tea when I was a little girl. I have brought my girls there a few times when they were little, but I'm thinking it's time I go again. The re-did the Academy recently, we did get to see that when it opened. Sounds like you ladies had a wonderful trip.
-Gina-

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