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San Francisco's Japanese Tea Garden


My fondest memories of school field trips were those across the Bay Bridge in a school bus to Golden Gate Park and, most of all, the Japanese Tea Garden. I understand now that my love of the exotic revealed itself early in life, and though Japan was the first on my list as a child, I’ve yet to visit. Other parts of Asia have occupied my travels for many years, but for some mysterious reason Japan remains unvisited, I have no idea why.


My first visit to the Japanese Tea Garden last summer was with my granddaughters, then 11. I parked the car in the garage underneath the nearby Academy of Sciences, but passed on a visit there, entrance fees amounting to a whopping $109 for 3 children, including my girls’ friend and me. I think not. However, you can imagine my pleasure to find entry to our target garden just $3 for the girls and $6 for me. My granddaughter is an exceptional photographer and I’d planned to show you hers, told her to save them but, alas, it was not to be. So today’s are mine, from a subsequent visit.

This visit to Golden Gate Park was by public transport from my temporary home in Vallejo at the north end of the bay. Vallejo city bus, an hour-long ferry ride and, finally the #5 Fulton bus carried me to within sight of the de Young Museum and it’s next-door neighbor the Japanese Tea Garden.

Below, the Japanese Tea Garden in 1904.


It’s hard for me to tell whether the garden has changed much since those 1950s school trips, memory being what it is. The 2 things I love that haven’t changed are the famous drum bridge and the tea house. And while as adults we sometimes see things with a more critical eye than as children, it appears to me that the garden as a whole is more splendid than ever. Originally built as part of the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, it’s the oldest surviving Japanese-style garden in the United States that’s open to the public.



There's more information on Golden Gate Park
& the Japanese Tea Garden here.



Next week, a complete change of pace in Nowhere, Arizona.




More PortMoresby stories here.




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