A Hidden Sanctuary in SF: The Japanese Tea Garden

A Hidden Sanctuary in SF: The Japanese Tea Garden

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After admiring the rare species at the Conservatory of Flowers, and noticing that the weather took a turn for the better, we decided to check out the Japanese Tea Garden, also located within Golden Gate Park.  The sun magically appeared, and the last place I wanted to be when it’s not raining is inside, so off to the tea garden we went.

In my mind, I pictured the tea garden as sort of gimmicky, but since I have never stepped foot on Japan, or even been to any tea garden before, I quickly realized that I had to keep my mind open.  And once we paid our admission and passed through the gates, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  (Wrong enough in the sense that it was way more lush than I expected, since as stated, I have nothing to compare it to.)  

The garden was full of perfectly manicured bushes and plants, colorful koi fish in the ponds, and some rather unique sculptures.  There was Kyoto style architecture, which now I am curious as to how the structures in the tea garden compare to those actually found in Japan.  Guess I’ll have to add Tokyo and just Japan in general to my never ending list of places to go in order to find out for sure.

After meandering around for a while and stopping to take lots of pictures here and there, we decided it was time for a brief rest.  We stopped at the little tea shop for a treat, which had different traditional japanese teas on the menu (such as genmaicha and the sencha), and even some strong green tea shots (described to be much like green tea espresso shots).  We decided to share a pot of the traditional Sencha green tea, and ordered some assorted mochi to pair with it.  Tea was good, albeit rather pricey, and I really enjoyed the mochi, something I have never had before.

Although this place was kinda touristy and the tea was on the expensive side, the beautiful grounds make up for that.  We were lucky that New Years Eve was just around the corner, as I have a feeling people were starting to make their way to their NYE destinations.  A lot less people than I expected.   

Would I come back here?  

Probably not.  But it was definitely a peaceful and relaxing way to end our day in the park.

And lastly, my favorite photo of the gardens:


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