Spring has sprung, SF! Every year we eagerly await the return of the beautiful cherry blossoms, and they are indeed starting to bloom now at Golden Gate Park’s famous Japanese Tea Garden, which is the oldest public Japanese garden in the US. Be sure to visit soon and catch these beautiful flowers through the beginning of April.
The Japanese Tea Garden is one of Golden Gate Park’s most iconic destinations, and for good reason. The tea house, or ochaya, dates back to 1894, making it the oldest ochaya in the United States. It’s also open now! Take a stroll through the pagodas, stepping stone paths, native Japanese plants, and more.
This outdoor experience is Covid-safe, as the garden is taking precautions to ensure social distancing and safety is a top priority. Face coverings are mandatory at all times, and they are implementing an accessible one-way path as well as E-tickets to reduce contact upon arrival.
General admission is $12, and SF residents with ID can enter the garden for $7. Reduced pricing is available for seniors, youth, and children. Near the end of April, admission to the garden will become free for all SF residents.
The Japanese Tea Garden also participates in Museums for All, meaning that free general admission is available for those receiving food assistance who present a valid EBT card upon entry.
The Japanese Tea Garden was originally created in 1894 as a “Japanese Village” exhibit for the California Midwinter International Exposition. Japanese landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara and Golden Gate Park superintendent John McLaren arranged for the garden to remain permanently, and Hagiwara maintained the space until 1942.
At that point, he and about 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly evacuated to internment camps during World War II. The Hagiwara family was not allowed to return after the war ended. Many of their treasures were removed and new additions were made to the garden in subsequent years.
Read our article about the Japanese Tea Garden to learn more about its history.
[Featured Image: @k.seek.713 via Instagram]