Japanese Tea Garden (San Francisco)

Japanese Tea Garden Temple

I finally made it to the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco! Thursday is all about routine for us. We play for a couple hours, attend Chinese story time, play on the library playground, eat lunch, take a nap, and go to art class. This week I just wasn’t feeling it. Around 10 am the plan started changing and at noon we were parking outside Golden Gate Park.

Japanese Tea Garden

We parked at the Music Concourse Parking Garage which was easy and convenient. It was supposed to be $5/hour during the week, but I lost my parking pass and had to pay the $29 daily maximum. Ouch.

I had been wanting to visit the Japanese Tea Garden and I wasn’t the only one! Mid-day on a Thursday the place was packed. Near the entrance or the temples, it was downright claustrophobic! When we explored the back corner of the 5-acre garden, we found a little more peace.

Admission for non-residents is $9/adults and children under 5 are free. Admission wasn’t bad, but we also dropped a small fortune eating at the tea house. That’s what I get for abandoning plans and needing to eat on the go. Fortunately, I had brought snacks so we didn’t order a full meal.

The entire day was worthwhile when we turned a corner and first saw one of the temples. HJ spread her arms wide and said, “WOW!”

Japanese Tea Garden Temple
“Wow” is right. I love all the layers in the landscaping.
Japanese Tea Garden Paths
There was no defined order in which to take the paths, so we just wound through them in the order that most appealed to us.
Japanese Tea Garden Bridge
HJ was obsessed with this bridge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take them both over it. I’m going to need to go back with another adult for that.
Japanese Tea Garden Path
In the back corner of the garden, we found the most privacy. The kids got to slow down and spend more time inspecting the garden and hopping from stone to stone. I still had to crop someone out of this photo though!
Japanese Tea Garden Entrance
The entrance to the garden from behind.
Japanese Tea Garden Koi
This boy could watch the koi all day.
Japanese Tea Garden K on Bridge
He wasn’t in a hurry and he sure was happy!


I wasn’t overly pleased with my pictures from this outing. My photography class has given me the dangerous habit or messing with my settings. These pictures weren’t as sharp as I would have liked, and I couldn’t tell that on my camera screen. Oh well. I guess I just have to go back!

In the meantime, I might just order some nice tea!


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