California is well known for its abundance of outdoor wonders, and the Japanese Tea Garden, along with other California gardens, are some of the best places to experience what is a high art form in Japan.
San Francisco is a town with a large Asian population, since it is filled with immigrants both old and new. The Chinese New Year is the largest of its kind outside of China, and it one of the biggest Events and Holidays held in the Bay Area.
The original Japanese Tea Garden was started at the 1894 World Fair Expo, which was held in San Francisco. This, and other structures like the Palace of the Legion of Honor were built as impressive structures designed to impress for the Exposition, but made such an impression that they were kept and maintained for the public to enjoy today.
The Japanese Tea Garden was originally only one acre and now covers five acres, and is a lush, beautiful wet walking garden, complete with ponds. This lovely, serene garden is now the oldest public Japanese Garden in the country.
The Japanese Tea Garden is complete with pines, lanterns, and statues, and has impressive Japanese-style landscaping, including a Zen garden. The Zen garden has a miniature mountain landscape with a waterfall and a small island. You can enjoy a cup of tea under a pagoda style pavilion and wander through a gift shop and purchase souvenirs and imported gifts. This is one of the most interesting parts of the Golden Gate Park to visit, but you will have to pay a small admission to visit.
A short drive south, in San Jose, is the Japanese Friendship Garden. In this spring there is a stunning exhibition of exquisite dolls and a seven-tier altar of the Japanese Royal Court called the O Hina Sama on display. A Japanese priest in Kyoto created these interesting dolls in the mid 16th century, and they are available for any visitor to enjoy when they visit the Japanese Friendship Garden in the spring months.
This delicate garden has a koi fishpond, and stunning jewel trees, and is filled with fragrant flowers like wisteria, and iris. The Japanese Friendship Garden is a great way to enjoy cultural events like koi fish feedings, Japanese calligraphy exhibitions, and interesting cultural displays. Best of all, admission to the garden is free, and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.
Only a short drive from San Jose are the Hakone Japanese Gardens. These are residential styles garden, and are available for scenic weddings, or it can be the picturesque setting for your next business meeting. There are interesting events you wonÂ't find at other California gardens like meditation, Yoga, and Tai Chi classes. There is no cost for admission at the Hakone Japanese Gardens, and you can enjoy authentic Japanese food and entertainment at the yearly Matsuri festival. This was also the historic setting for the 150th yearly celebration of the Treaty of Peace and Amity, held in 2004, and also the 2001 50th anniversary of the peace treaty between the United States and Japan.
The Hakone Japanese Gardens is an easy drive from two other impressive California gardens. If you visit Northern California, you will be able to enjoy Japanese culture up close as well as visit some of the most serene, beautiful gardens in the Western hemisphere.