The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is already a well-known and beloved attraction in the city, but did you know that seeing it in the Spring when their cherry blossoms are in bloom makes it even more beautiful and special? In fact, it’s one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in San Francisco! Make sure to not miss the bloom season though, since it’s short and only for a few weeks! Another bonus is that you’ll get to see the stunning pagoda in its fully restored glory! In this post, I’ll share the best time to see the cherry blossoms, and also some pictures I took there!
All photos were taken by me and my husband Ken. If you’re interested in flower photography, you may be interested in my post on the Best Lenses for Flower Photography. Or take a look at my photo gear!
p.s. I’ll also be posting a video walk-through of the Japanese Tea Garden on my YouTube channel, so make sure to give me a follow there!
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Cherry Blossoms at the Japanese Tea Garden
There are lovely cherry trees with pale pink blossoms located throughout the Japanese Tea Garden, including three right near the entrance. As you enter the garden, you’ll immediately see a beautiful cherry tree framing the sunken garden in front of the tea house. This is such a beautiful and popular spot that there’s often a crowd here! You’ll see several more cherry trees inside the garden, including one near the drum bridge, and several more near the larger lake.
When do Cherry Blossoms Bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden?
Cherry blossoms usually start blooming at the Japanese Tea Garden in March. The blooming season is short – typically just 2-3 weeks, so make sure to visit during this time! The blooms may still be around in early April, but the blooms may be past peak already (see pic below). Please note that the blooming season does vary somewhat each year depending on the weather, rain, and wind. The garden’s Instagram account usually shares photos of cherry blossoms when they’re in bloom, so it’s a good place to check if you’re planning on visiting!
Cherry blossoms bloom from February to May in the Bay Area. Check out my article on Where to Find Cherry Blossoms in the Bay Area for all the details! I also just published a flower bloom calendar for California!
About the Japanese Tea Garden
The Japanese Tea Garden is located inside Golden Gate Park in San Francisco at 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive (near 12th Avenue). It’s the oldest continuously maintained Japanese public garden outside of Japan! The peaceful and tranquil garden is approximately 5 acres in size and features classic elements such as an arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, stepping-stone paths, native Japanese plants, serene koi ponds and a Zen Garden. In addition to the recently refurbished pagoda, there’s a newly refurbished Tea House which serves tea and refreshments, and a gift shop next to it where you can purchase authentic Japanese items.
The Japanese Tea Garden is a part of the Gardens of Golden Gate Park, which is a public/private partnership between the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, a community-based nonprofit organization, and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks.
Admissions to the Japanese Tea Garden
The admission price to the Japanese Tea Garden is $12-$16 for adults, depending on the season. Admission is free for San Francisco residents! Admission is also free for Gardens of Golden Gate Park members and members of a reciprocal garden that’s part of the American Horticultural Society, such as the UC Botanical Garden and the Ruth Bancroft Garden in the East Bay. I highly recommend a membership to one of the AHS gardens! All admission and open hours information can be found at the Japanese Tea Garden website.
History of the Japanese Tea Garden
The garden was originally created as a “Japanese Village” exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition. After the expo, the village was purchased by the Board of Park Commissioners and Mr. Makoto Hagiwara, a successful Japanese businessman in the city, was hired as caretaker. Mr. Hagiwara expanded the garden to its current size of approximately 5 acres where he and his family lived for many years until 1942 when they, along with approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans, were forced to evacuate their homes and move into internment camps. Read more about the history of the garden here.
Where are the Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in the San Francisco Bay Area?
Aside from the Japanese Tea Garden, there are several other wonderful places to see cherry blossoms in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Filoli Gardens in Woodside, the City of San Ramon in the East Bay, the Palace of Fine Arts, and Hakone Japanese Garden in Saratoga. I have all the details and lots of photos in my post on Where to See Cherry Blossoms in the Bay Area.
* All photos were taken by me and my husband Ken. Please feel free to share this post, but please note that reposting photos on social media or other websites without credit and direct link to this post, copying photos or altering photos are not allowed. Thank you.
My YouTube Channel!
I’ve started a YouTube channel! If you love nature, flowers and gardens as much as I do, make sure to give me a follow there! 😊🌸🌿
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Thank you for stopping by my blog! I hope you found this post useful, and I hope you have a wonderful day!
Hi, I’m Pansy!
Hello, thanks for stopping by! I’m Pansy, California-based travel blogger, photographer and lover of ALL the pretty flowers! You may notice that most of my travels, photography & DIY center around flowers and nature! 🌸🌼🌿
I recently started a YouTube channel where I feature beautiful gardens, parks & flower fields! Make sure to follow me there if you love flowers & gardens! 😊