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Japanese Tea Garden
Vacation Travel Guide

Japanese Tea Garden showing a park and heritage architecture

The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States is a place of peace and beauty nestled in Golden Gate Park.

Refresh your senses with a saunter through the Japanese Tea Garden, at the east side of Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. This peaceful respite is dotted with miniature pagodas, stone lanterns, koi ponds and cherry blossom trees. You’ll easily find your own private spot among the five acres (two hectares) of benches and walkways. Enjoy views of plants, trees and the sky, while contemplating the beauty and harmony of nature.

Established in 1894 as a temporary exhibit for the World’s Fair in San Francisco, the garden was conceived and developed by landscape gardener Baron Makoto Hagiwara. When the fair closed, Hagiwara turned it into a permanent feature and expanded its size. His family and descendants maintained the garden until shortly after the United States entered World War II.

Some of the highlights of the garden include the meditative Zen Garden, the many water features and the Lantern of Peace, a 9,000 pound (4,082 kilogram) bronze lantern which was presented as a gift of reconciliation after World War II.

The Japanese Tea Garden is a glorious sight year-round, but perhaps the best time to visit is in the spring when thousands of cherry blossom trees are in bloom. The fall is also a treat, when the changing leaves present a colorful display.

In the middle of the garden and overlooking its beautiful landscapes and south-facing pond is the impressive Tea House. It’s here that Hagiwara introduced the fortune cookie to the United States, serving them to visitors, a tradition that continues to this day. Every Wednesday and Friday morning, from mid-March to January, kimono-wearing staff members perform tea ceremony demonstrations with centuries-old rituals and practices that present the matcha, a powdered green tea.

Top Hotels Close to Japanese Tea Garden

Geary Parkway Motel
Geary Parkway Motel
2 out of 5
4750 Geary Blvd, Richmond District, San Francisco, CA
The price is $90 per night from May 9 to May 9
Located in Richmond District, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Golden Gate Park and Presidio of San Francisco. California Academy of Sciences and University ...
4/5Very Good! (934 reviews)
"Small, simple, old fashioned room. Very clean. Great location. No frills - but everything works just fine! The price is wonderful!!! We will return."

Reviewed on May 2, 2021

Geary Parkway Motel
Stanyan Park Hotel
Stanyan Park Hotel
3 out of 5
750 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $179 per night from May 11 to May 11
This family-friendly San Francisco hotel is located in the historical district, within a 10-minute walk of Golden Gate Park and University of California San ...
4.3/5Excellent! (793 reviews)
"wonderful location and view at the edge of golden gate park, old-world charm."

Reviewed on Apr 28, 2021

Stanyan Park Hotel
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is $118 per night from May 24 to May 24
Located in North Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, and Ghirardelli Square. Lombard Street and Alcatraz Island are ...
4.1/5Very Good! (2,375 reviews)
"Our favorite part was the sitting area outside of the hotel next to the fire pits. It was a nice way to relax and visit after a busy day of touring."

Reviewed on May 8, 2021

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Japanese Tea Garden Flight + Hotel Deals

Budget Inn of Hayward
Caravelle Inn & Suites
Hyatt Place San Jose/Downtown
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Best Lodging Options Near Japanese Tea Garden

Geary Parkway Motel
Geary Parkway Motel
2 out of 5
4750 Geary Blvd, Richmond District, San Francisco, CA
The price is $90 per night from May 9 to May 9
Geary Parkway Motel
Stanyan Park Hotel
Stanyan Park Hotel
3 out of 5
750 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $179 per night from May 11 to May 11
Stanyan Park Hotel
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is $118 per night from May 24 to May 24
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
4 out of 5
780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $155 per night from May 9 to May 9
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.