Japanese Tea Garden - San Francisco

Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, SF

The Japanese Tea Garden is located next to the MH de Young Museum and across from the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Built for the Japanese Village exhibit in the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, the garden is the oldest public Japanese garden in the nation. It is visited by over 400,000 people every year. 

The garden features beautiful Pagodas, Lily Ponds, The Hagiwara Gate (built with no nails), the Lantern of Peace (a gift from the Japanese government in 1953), a Drum Bridge, and a Zen Garden. Lush landscaping includes beautiful cherry trees, azaleas, Oriental magnolias, camelias, Japanese maples, dwarf pines, cedars and cypresses. Each setting offers a stunning backdrop for photographs. In fact, several of the movie scenes from “Memoirs of a Geisha” were filmed at the Japanese Tea Garden.

Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, SF

Japanese Tea Room

Take a break during your visit and relax in the Japanese Tea Garden’s open Tea Room. Enjoy a cup of green tea and cookies while admiring the garden views. 

Fortune Cookies and Tea Garden Trivia

Bet you thought that China was the birthplace of the Fortune Cookie. It was actually invented in San Francisco. Makoto Hagiwara, manager of Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden, created the Fortune Cookie in 1909. He served them to guests of the Tea Garden. And the rest… as they say… is history!

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