Japanese Tea Garden, 8th Ave. and John F. Kennedy Dr. in Golden Gate Park, was originally built as a Japanese village for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition. Japanese immigrant Makoto Hagiwara designed the bulk of this elegantly landscaped 5-acre site and was its official caretaker for a number of years.
The shaded stone walkways and footbridges are meant to be strolled at a leisurely pace. Among the sculpted trees and hedges are many plants native to Japan and China. Ponds, miniature waterfalls, a big bronze Buddha, stone lanterns, statuary and a couple of pagodas all contribute to the beauty of this tranquil little spot. Spring, when the cherry trees bloom, is a spectacular time to visit. Green teas and Japanese confections are served in the garden's teahouse.