Japanese Garden, Golden Gate Park San Francisco

You don’t have to fly to the Land of the Rising Sun to experience Zen in a Japanese tea garden – you can get that right in the heart of San Francisco! Located within the Golden Gate Park, the Hagiwara Japanese Tea Garden was founded by Makoto Hagiwara, a Japanese immigrant and gardener.


After the Pearl Harbour bombing, Hagiwara and his family were relocated elsewhere and the park fell into ruin. Today, thankfully, it is a popular tourist attraction and well maintained.

Upon stepping into the compound, one is greeted by a beautiful landscape full of carefully trimmed shrubs, shady trees and aesthetically-pleasing blooms. Some of the plant species and even the pond’s goldfish are native to Japan and were brought in many years ago. It does feel like you’re in a pretty Zen garden somewhere in Japan and not in the middle of a park in San Fran!


The wooden gazebo overlooking the pond is where visitors can buy souvenirs and enjoy green tea and other Japanese snacks.


To add to the Japanese feels, there are also statues and shrines scattered all over the area.

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Mushroom trees and cherry blossoms.


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A tranquil pathway lined with tall, shady trees. Some of the small gardens are Zen-style: meaning the rocks, water, trees and shrubs are done in a carefully placed and composed way. It is the same concept of ‘control over nature’ that drives the development of bonsai trees.

We were lucky because during our visit there were not many people around, so it was a peaceful stroll around the park.

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Pagoda atop a hill. Some students were doing graduation photoshoots here.

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A rather naked cherry blossom with sparse blooms.


A scary bridge.

That is E’s “Don’t be a coward, Eris” face.


And more blooms!

I think the Japanese Tea Gardens are worth their entry price, because the flowers and plants are beautiful especially in spring time. Also a good place to take your girlfriend on a date.


Golden Gate Park, 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr,

San Francisco, CA 94118, United States

Open daily: Summer (3/1 through 10/31): 9:00 am to 6:00 ; Winter (11/1 through 2/28): 9:00 am to 4:45 pm

Free admission before 10am on Mon, Wed, Fri.

Adults: 8$ (non-residents), 6$ (SF Residents).