Friday, July 2, 2010

Must visit place in San Francisco... Japanese Tea Garden

Literally within a short walk of the California Academy of Sciences and the De Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, a must see is the Japanese Tea Garden. If you go to either the Cal Academy or the DeYoung, spend a half hour or more in this beautiful garden full of beautiful architecture, bamboo, Japanese Maples, a working tea house, Japanese gift shop, koi pond and much, much more.

Here is an excerpt on its history:

"After the conclusion of the World's Fair, Makoto Hagiwara, a Japanese immigrant and gardener, approached John McLaren with the idea to convert the temporary exhibit into a permanent park. Hagiwara personally oversaw the building of the Japanese Tea Garden and was official caretaker of the garden from 1895 to 1925. He specifically requested that one thousand flowering cherry trees be imported from Japan, as well as other native plants, birds, and the now famous goldfish. His family lived in and maintained the Japanese Tea Garden until 1942, when Executive Order 9066 forced them to leave San Francisco and relocate to an internment camp with thousands of other Japanese American families. The garden was renamed the 'Oriental Tea Garden', and the garden fell into dissaray.

In 1949, a large bronze Buddha, originally cast in Tajima, Japan in 1790, was presented to the garden by the S & G Gump Company. The name 'Japanese Tea Garden' was officially reinstated in 1952. In 1953 the Zen Garden, designed by Nagao Sakurai and representing a modern version of kare sansui (a dry garden which symbolizes a miniature mountain scene complete with a stone waterfall and small island surrounded by a gravel river) was dedicated at the same time as the 9000 lb Lantern of Peace, which was purchased by contributions from Japanese children and presented on their behalf as a symbol of friendship for future generations.

Nagao Sakurai also redesigned the area in front of Tea House."

A great place to take kids and a place that will not be forgotten after you go.


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