Japanese Tea Garden: A Tranquil Oasis of Serenity and Beauty in the Heart of San Francisco

Welcome to the serene and enchanting world of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. Step into a realm where tranquility and tradition intertwine, inviting you to immerse yourself in the beauty and grace of Japanese culture. Nestled amidst the vibrant greenery of one of San Francisco’s most iconic parks, this exquisite garden beckons visitors with its meticulously manicured landscapes, delicate cherry blossoms, winding pathways, and the soothing sound of trickling streams. Join us on a journey of serenity and discovery as we unveil the captivating allure of the Japanese Tea Garden, a cherished oasis of peace in the heart of the bustling city.

Slowly taking in all the details to the meticulous garden is a visual delight with stepping stones, arched bridges to climb, stone lanterns and gorgeous pagodas to photograph at different angles. You’ll love visiting this wonderful and elaborate Japanese tea garden in Golden Gate park.

Where is the Japanese tea garden located in San Francisco?

Located in Golden Gate park in the main concourse area and right next to the De Young Museum, the Japanese tea garden is hidden through ornate gates, fences and other ornamentation. Behind the exterior walls is a lush and beautiful garden that reflects all the wonderful aesthetics and features you can explore and experience throughout the garden. You will find the entrance to the garden through the main tiled gate and kiosk, check the information below for admission, information and picking up a brochure.

History of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

The oldest Japanese garden established in the United states, this garden was created originally as an exhibit to the 1894 fair in World’s Fair in San Francisco and with many of the sculptures, Japanese outdoor collections and other significant structures used into this authentic Japanese tea garden at Golden Gate Park.

During the war in 1942, the garden was renamed the Oriental tea garden because of anti -Japanese sentiment during that time frame but returned to the original name after the war had ended. The Japanese tea house is under the concession with servers of the Tea house being of Japanese descent or Japanese.

Interesting fact – the fortune cookie was introduced in the garden as a snack in 1900 and serving it at the tea house and eventually spreading to the local Chinese restaurants in the area but now is the only tea house to serve fortune cookies in a Japanese setting

Here’s a video history tour of the Japanese Tea Garden

History of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park
Experience Tranquility and Tradition at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

Explore the Japanese tea garden

Once you enter the main gate, the first thing you do notice is a large pond with the tea house fronting the pond area. Continue on the left side of the garden where an elegant arched drum bridge is set over some more koi ponds (a perfect photo op spot) and leads you to a bigger area with views looking up the at main site which is a grouping of large pagodas set on a small hill overlooking Golden Gate Park.

Created during the 1915 Pan Pacific exhibition, the pagodas were moved to this current location along with an ornate temple gate, a huge bronze buddha donated by Gump’s Department store. There is a lovely garden in the top portion with a bamboo grove and fantastic views of the garden and tea house below.

What you will find at the Japanese Tea Garden

With 7 different types of bamboo, over 100 plant species from Japan and all over asia and beautiful structures and ornamentation, you will enjoy exploring all the garden paths.

Meandering walkways, paved stairs, zen garden, beautiful landscaped views and water features to enjoy, the garden is filled with visual scenes that amuses, is pleasing to the eye and fun to explore.

All the plants are trimmed and bonsai sized for human size and viewing in this compact garden that is delightful to view at many different angles.

Explore the gardens

Experience tea at the tea house

One of the highlights of visiting the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the authentic tea house experience. Step inside the traditional teahouse, where the essence of Japanese hospitality and tea ceremony rituals come to life. As you remove your shoes and enter the serene space, you’ll be greeted by the soothing aroma of freshly brewed tea and the soft, ambient sounds of nature.

Find a place at the low, tatami-covered tables, and allow the tea master to guide you through the delicate art of tea preparation and consumption. Savor each sip of the carefully crafted matcha tea, appreciating its rich flavors and the mindful presence it evokes. As you indulge in this ancient ritual, you’ll feel a sense of tranquility and connection to the profound traditions that have been cherished for centuries. The tea house at the Japanese Tea Garden offers a truly immersive and unforgettable experience, transporting you to a realm of elegance and serenity within the bustling cityscape.

Fascinating story of the fortune cookie

Actually, originating in Japan and brought to the US, the fortune cookie was more savory and when brought here for mass production because sweet and infused with vanilla flavor to appeal to more western taste and flavor.

It became very popular and is still served with every cup of tea for visitors to the tea house.

There is also a gift shop located in the tea house for purchasing some Japanese inspired gifts and souvenirs.

To check out the details of the tea house, visit their website here for more details.

Check out this video on what a typical tea ceremony experience is like

Hours and entry fee

The garden is open daily from 9am to 6pm in summer and 9am to 4:45pm in the winter hours.

Entry is only cash $8 for adults $6 for residents, 12-17 and 65+ $6 and $3 for residents

Age 5-11 $2 and under that age is free

Where to park around the Japanese Tea Garden

You can park on the main side streets in the park or park at the parking music concourse garage here for more information.

Hours and entry fee

More details and inside tips to visiting the Japanese Tea Garden

Spring time around March to April is Cherry Blossom time with the trees and various perennial shrubs blooming and creating a colorful show in the gardens. And worth visiting this time frame.

Summers and sunny days are best and the tea house is open air so you can enjoy the outdoors covered even on rainy days.

You can experience a beautiful tea ceremony on cleaning, presenting, receiving and drinking tea at the tea house. An elegant server in a dressed kimono will lead you through this elegant and immersive experience.

There is free entry to the garden on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays between 9am to 10am

Best to avoid the busy time frames from 11:30 to 2:30 when everyone visits and enjoys lunch service at the tea house.

Don’t forget to visit the gift shop and souvenirs: consider supporting this local garden by purchasing some treats or souvenirs and helping to maintain the garden at the same time.

Seasonal Events: check the main website for different events and functions at the garden to have a better experience here.

Admission and daily schedule

Visit the Japanese tea garden website here for more information and details to visiting.

Open Everyday

Winter  9AM – 4:45PM

Summer  9AM – 5:45PM


75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

Details and inside tips to visiting the Japanese Tea Garden

The Giant Buddha donated by Gumps Department store in San Francisco

How to get to the Japanese Tea Garden

Getting to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is convenient and accessible. If you’re traveling by public transportation, you can take the Muni bus routes 5, 21, or 71 to reach the park. Additionally, the N Judah light rail line also provides access to the park.

If you prefer driving, there are parking options available near the garden. The main entrance is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and you can find parking spaces along the surrounding streets or utilize the park’s designated parking lots.

For those who enjoy biking, Golden Gate Park offers bike-friendly paths and bike racks near the Japanese Tea Garden entrance, allowing you to easily park your bike and explore the garden.

Whether you choose to take public transportation, drive, or bike, the Japanese Tea Garden is easily accessible and well-connected within Golden Gate Park, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey to this tranquil oasis.

How to find parking if you are driving

If you are driving to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, finding parking is relatively straightforward. As you approach the park, look for available street parking along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive or the surrounding streets. These areas often have designated parking spaces where you can safely park your vehicle.

If street parking is limited, Golden Gate Park provides several designated parking lots conveniently located near the garden. Follow the signs directing you to the park’s parking areas, and be sure to check for any parking restrictions or time limits to ensure a hassle-free experience.

Once you have parked your vehicle, follow the signs or ask for directions to the Japanese Tea Garden entrance. It is located within walking distance from the parking areas, allowing you to easily access this serene destination.

How to get to the Japanese Tea Garden

Enjoy viewing this video highlights of visiting the Japanese Tea Garden

Weather and best time to visit Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park, located in San Francisco, experiences a moderate coastal climate characterized by cool summers, mild winters, and the possibility of fog. The park’s weather is influenced by the marine layer that frequently rolls in from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

The best time to visit Golden Gate Park largely depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to engage in. The park offers different attractions and experiences throughout the year.

Spring, from March to May, is generally a pleasant time to visit. The temperatures range from the mid-50s to low 70s Fahrenheit (12-23°C), and the park comes alive with vibrant blooms and blossoming trees. It’s an ideal time for picnics, leisurely walks, and enjoying the park’s various gardens.

Summer, from June to August, can be cooler and foggier compared to other parts of the city. Daytime temperatures typically range from the mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (18-23°C), occasionally reaching the 80s Fahrenheit (27-30°C) during heatwaves. It’s a great time to explore the park’s attractions, such as the Conservatory of Flowers or the Stow Lake Boathouse, and attend outdoor concerts or events.

Fall, from September to November, brings milder temperatures and fewer crowds. The weather is often pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (18-24°C). The park’s foliage transforms into beautiful autumn colors, making it a picturesque time for strolling, cycling, or visiting the de Young Museum or the California Academy of Sciences.

Winter, from December to February, tends to be the coolest and wettest season in Golden Gate Park. Temperatures range from the mid-50s to low 60s Fahrenheit (12-16°C). Rain showers are more frequent during this time, but the park retains its greenery, and the indoor attractions, such as the Japanese Tea Garden or the Conservatory of Flowers, offer shelter and beauty.

Overall, Golden Gate Park can be visited year-round, but spring and fall generally offer the most comfortable temperatures and pleasant weather for outdoor activities. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before your visit and dress accordingly, including layers and a light jacket or sweater, as the temperatures can vary throughout the day.

Check out this wonderful video to a tea experience and tour highlights

Details for visiting the Japanese tea Garden

Hours of Operation:

  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Cost of Entry:

  • Adults (Ages 12-64): $12.00
  • Seniors (Ages 65+): $7.00
  • Children (Ages 5-11): $7.00
  • Children 4 and under: Free

Address: Japanese Tea Garden Golden Gate Park San Francisco, CA 94118 United States

Website Japanese Tea Garden – San Francisco

Here’s another beautiful walking tour of the Japanese Tea Garden

FInal thoughts

So, these are all the most popular and well-loved parts of Golden Gate Park that locals and visitors enjoy including the Japanese Tea Garden. Take your time visiting the gardens and slowly taking in all the details, textures, water features and the gorgeous landscapes and plants while you walk around this well curated garden.

If you have been here, we would love to hear your thoughts or inside tips to visiting the area.

Check out the other spectacular gardens in Golden Gate Park below

Check out the other spectacular gardens in Golden Gate Park below

Golden Gate park has so many wonderful public areas and gardens to explore in the park for you to enjoy including:

A walk or boat around Stow Lake

Visit the Conservatory of Flowers

The Dahlia garden (Dell)

San Francisco Botanical Garden

16th Avenue Mosaic stairs

Pin and save this for Later

Pin and save this for Later

Pin and save this for Later

Pin and save this for Later

Conclusion to visiting the Japanese Tea Garden

Conclusion to visiting the Japanese Tea Garden

In conclusion, a visit to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is a captivating and enriching experience that transports you to a realm of tranquility and cultural beauty. From the traditional tea house rituals to the meticulously manicured landscapes and serene ambiance, every aspect of the garden invites you to immerse yourself in the art and traditions of Japan. Whether you’re savoring a cup of matcha tea, strolling along the winding pathways, or simply finding solace in the peaceful surroundings, the Japanese Tea Garden offers a respite from the bustling city and a chance to connect with nature and ancient traditions.

So, take a moment to breathe, to indulge in the serene atmosphere, and to appreciate the profound elegance of the tea garden—a cherished sanctuary in the heart of Golden Gate Park.

Thanks for visiting California and Beyond, if you enjoyed the post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons located on the site, thanks so much!

google-site-verification: googled06c68096515dd69.html