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Japanese Tea Garden: A Serene Visit with a Historical Echo

The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park offers tranquility and beauty and carries a deep historical significance, particularly relating to the Hagiwara family, who were instrumental in its creation and early care.

Garden History and the Hagiwara Family

Initially developed for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, the garden's expansion and beautification were primarily due to Makoto Hagiwara and his family. They introduced many authentic Japanese elements, making the garden a true cultural showcase.

A Painful Chapter

Tragically, during World War II, the Hagiwara family, along with thousands of Japanese Americans, faced internment due to widespread anti-Japanese sentiment. This led to their forced removal from the garden they had tended so lovingly. Significant changes and damages occurred to the garden during their absence, reflecting a dark period in its history.

Our Visit

We spent around an hour and a half exploring the garden's serene, reflecting on its complex past. It's a moving experience, connecting the landscape's beauty with the Hagiwara family's resilience.

Culinary Delights at the Tea House

Stopping at the tea house, we enjoyed miso soup, green tea cheesecake, and tea — a delightful way to immerse ourselves in the garden's cultural essence.


Today, the Japanese Tea Garden is a reminder of historical injustice and enduring beauty. Its story, intertwined with the Hagiwara family's legacy, adds a poignant layer to the visit. With its affordable weekday admission, the garden is accessible for those seeking a moment of peace and historical reflection in the heart of San Francisco.

Admission fees are cheaper on weekdays.

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