Map of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, California

Japanese Tea Garden Map

Click anywhere on the map to see a unique perspective.

View of cherry trees on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive outside Cherry Tree Lane

View of cherry trees on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive outside Cherry Tree Lane

Cherry trees in bloom (Prunus yedoensis) along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive hint at the delights contained within the Japanese Tea Garden beyond the West Gate to the right.

Pagoda

View of Pagoda

The five-stored pagoda was originally in the Japanese exhibit at the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915. After the close of the exposition the Hagiwaras had it brought to the Tea Garden. In Japan and other countries in the Far East pagodas which are Buddhist shrines were often built over a sacred relic. The spire at the top of a pagoda is called a sorin and its nine rings represent various heavens of the gods.

Zen Garden with Bonsai Tree and Azalea

View of Zen Garden with bonsai and azalea

Located behind the Pagoda, this area was laid out in 1953 by one of Japan's leading landscape architects, Nagao Sukurai, who designed the Japanese gardens at the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition. This garden is a modern version of the Muromachi period's (1392-1573) dry landscape, known as kare sansu in Japanese. The Zen Garden symbolizes in miniature a mountain scene, with stone waterfall and gravel river. The white gravel winds its way around miniature islands and forests. An impressive azalea, its blossoms highlighted by the dappled sunlight, rises behind a splendid bonsai tree.

Rhododendron with Peace Lantern and Pagoda

A brilliant Seta rhododendron's blossoms echo the red colors of the Pagoda in the background of this view of the Peace Lantern. Children throughout Japan contributed to the purchase of the Peace Lantern as a symbol of friendship to the United States. It was presented in 1953 by the Japanese Consul General to the City of San Francisco. Using a simple design, the bronze lantern is placed on a granite base.

Stone Lantern and Dwarf Tree outside South Gate

Stone Lantern and Dwarf Tree outside South Gate of Japanese Tea Garden

Nineteen sixty-nine marked the hundredth anniversary of the first settlers from Japan, and to commemorate this event, the Committee for Japan Week in San Francisco donated this large stone lantern located west of the South Gate outside the garden. There is a Japanese American Plaque memorializing this gift.

View of Cherry Tree Lane near South Gate

View of Cherry Tree Lane near South Gate

Several blossoming cherry trees line Cherry Tree Lane near the South Gate.

Main Gate

Main Gate of Japanese Tea Garden, Photo courtesy of Clarence Towers

The original two-storied Main Gate, called a romon (tower gate) in Japanese, was part of the Japanese Village exhibit of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894, which was held in what is now the Music Concourse Area of Golden Gate Park. It originally had been built as the gate to George Turner Marsh's summer home in Mill Valley by a Japanese carpenter. Because of extensive rot, the old 1894 Main Gate entrance and the 1915 Temple Gate located near the Pagoda were completely removed. New gates were constructed on those sites.

View looking back toward Maple Lane

THe view looking back toward Maple Lane

The path now deadends instead of traversing the back of the Zen Garden. This is the view looking back toward Maple Lane from that vantage point.

View of Azalea in bloom from Maple Lane

View of azalea in bloom from Maple Lane

A profusion of lush vegetation greets the visitor to Maple Lane. In the foreground an azalea in bloom delights the eye while a rhododendron, Japanese maple tree and bamboo add to the verdant scene.

View of Azaleas down Maple Lane

View of azaleas down Maple Lane

Azaleas and rhododendrons bloom at the base of maple trees that line the pathway along Maple Lane. The Maple Lane landscape located in the northwestern part of the garden was relandscaped by E. J. Schuster in April 1977, with the addition of a new stone lantern (seen in the distance at far right), field stones and a "sprinkled hail stone pavement" (So pavement) for the path.

View down Maple Lane

View down Maple Lane

Azaleas and rhododendrons bloom at the base of maple trees that line the pathway along Maple Lane. The Maple Lane landscape located in the northwestern part of the garden was relandscaped by E. J. Schuster in April 1977, with the addition of a new stone lantern (seen in the distance at far right), field stones and a "sprinkled hail stone pavement" (So pavement) for the path.

Dragon Hedge

Dragon Hedge

An undulating Dragon Hedge twists and turns along the pathway on the way to Maple Lane. This view is from the tail toward the head.

Pathway under Long Bridge

View of Long Bridge with wisteria and cherry blossoms

The pathway under Long Bridge is lined with cherry trees, rhododendrons and fragrant wisteria. It winds toward the north end of the Tea Garden to vistas along Maple Lane and the Sunken Garden.

Statue of Buddha

In 1949, the S. & G. Gump Company presented to the garden the very old and large bronze Buddha in memory of A. Livingston Gump, Alfred Gump and William Gump. It is located at the eastern end of the Long Bridge. It was cast in bronze on Honshu Island at Tajima, Japan in 1790; it weighs 3,000 pounds and is ten feet, eight inches high. This particular figure is aptly named Amazarashi-No-Hotoke, meaning "The Buddha that sits throughout the sunny and rainy weather without a shelter."

Azaleas and Stone Pagoda

View of stone pagoda with azaleas

Brilliant azaleas bloom next to an impressive large stone pagoda, or "treasure house," along the path.

View under Long Bridge

View of azalea and wisteria from under Long Bridge with Drum Bridge in background

Looking back towards the Main Pond area from under Long Bridge the viewer is treated to a lovely scene of azalea, wisteria and cherry trees in bloom. Drum Bridge can be seen in the distance to the left.

Long Bridge with Wisteria

View of Long Bridge with wisteria

A new rustic-style Long Bridge with a slightly curved deck was constructed in the center of the garden in 1988. It is similar to the bridge in the garden during the Hagiwara era.

View of Pagoda from Long Bridge

View of Pagoda from Long Bridge

Wisteria-laden Long Bridge offers a view of the Pagoda half-hidden behind a copse of trees.

Pathway along Main Pond

View of Temple Gate, Pagoda, and Torii

The pathway along the Main Pond offers an impressive view of the hill planted with dwarf trees. Crowning the hill from left to right are the Temple Gate, Pagoda and Torii.

Azaleas and Cherry Blossoms

Azaleas and cherry blossoms along pathway

Several azaleas in bloom along the pathway offer a brilliant contrast to the sprays of cherry blossoms and pine branches overhead.

View of Terrace from Hagiwara Gate

View of deck through Hagiwara Gate

An ornately carved gate was built in 1916 by Mr. Shimada, a Japanese craftsman, who in 1913 had constructed the torii. The gate was originally the entrance to the Hagiwara residence built in 1908 and destroyed after the Hagiwaras left the Tea Garden in 1942. The gate now leads to a terrace overlooking the Sunken Garden which occupies the site where the Hagiwara residence formerly stood.

View towards Brick Terrace

View toward Brick Terrace

In 1943, Julius L. Girod, the Superintendent of Parks, constructed the brick terrace and below it the Sunken Garden, a landscape he designed on the site of the Hagiwaras former home. The building in the background currently houses the Asian Art Museum. The large keyaki tree between the Gift Shop and the Asian Art Museum was planted before Mr. Hagiwara's time.

Flowering Rhododendron and Stone Lantern

View stone lantern, flowering rhododendron and head of Dragon Hedge

A stone lantern rises behind a red-flowering rhododendron next to the head of the large undulating Dragon Hedge. Stone lanterns were introduced to Japan in the Sixth Century along with Buddhism, and were used to light pathways to shrines.

Dwarf Trees in Sunken Garden

Dwarf trees in Sunken Garden

The view to the left from the terrace looks down on a small sea of dwarf trees in the Sunken Garden below.

View of Azalea in bloom from Maple Lane

View from Maple Lane of azalea in bloom and lush vegetation

A profusion of lush vegetation greets the visitor to Maple Lane. In the foreground an azalea in bloom delights the eye while a rhododendron, Japanese maple tree and bamboo add to the verdant scene.

Stone Lantern on Pond's edge in Sunken Garden

View of pond in Sunken Garden

A stone lantern peeks along the edge of a rhododendron in bloom next to the pond in the Sunken Garden.

View of Azalea and Lawn from Terrace

View of blooming azalea and lawn from Terrace

One of the few lawn areas in the Japanese Tea Garden can be viewed from the left of the brick terrace. A white-flowered azalea in the foreground offers a pleasing contrast to the rich palette of green trees and shrubbery beyond.

Tsukubai, a boat-shaped Stone Basin

View of ornamental water basin (Tsukubai)

Just a few feet east of the Gift Shop is a beautifully carved ornamental water basin (tsukubai) in the shape of a boat. Stone basins are used by guests to wash their hands before entering the Tea Room. Water is usually fed through a bamboo pipe called kakehi. This basin, probably of considerable age, originally came from a country estate near Tokyo which had been destroyed during the time of World War II. The basin was purchased by the S. & G. Gump Company in the early 1960s and they presented it to the Tea Garden. If you look closely, you will see a carved turtle on the inside stern of the boat.

Cherry Tree Lane looking toward West Gate

View towards West Gate with cherry trees in full bloom

Cherry Tree Lane as seen from the South Gate encompasses a large hedge gently curving toward the West Gate. Several cherry trees are in bloom behind the hedge and to the right of a smaller hedge near a bench. The verdant trees in the background are all outside the boundaries of the Japanese Tea Garden.

View towards Cherry Tree Lane

View from the west end of the Main Pond toward Cherry Tree Lane

At the west end of the Main Pond the stone block path forks toward Cherry Tree Lane. Partially obscured behind a tree to the left is a stone lantern.

Temple Gate above Cherry Blossoms

View of Temple Gate from Cherry Tree Lane

The Temple Gate rises dramatically above clouds of fragrant cherry blossoms behind a hedge fence. At far right can be seen the foliage of a windmill palm, also known as a fan palm (Trachycarpus fortunei), native to Japan.

Path toward Cherry Tree Lane

View through Temple Gate toward Cherry Tree Lane

This vista through the Temple Gate at the top of the hill looks out toward Cherry Tree Lane in full blossom.

Main Gate and Monterey Pine

Main Gate and Monterey Pine of Japanese Tea Garden

The smaller, much twisted pine just inside the Main Gate is a Monterey pine. It was brought from Golden Gate Park's ocean front as a young tree by Makoto Hagiwara who planted it at its present location around 1900. Through the portal of the Main Gate can be viewed the columns of the Music Concourse, original site of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894 where the idea of the Japanese Tea Garden originated.

Wisteria and Waterfall outside Gift Shop

View of waterfall and wisteria with Gift Shop in background

A beautiful spring morning shows the Japanese Tea Garden at its loveliest. At the far left, the Japanese wisteria planted by Makoto Hagiwara in the early 1900s blooms fragrantly on the Tea House roof while an azalea, dwarf tree, Japanese maple tree and fern-laden rocks lead the eye to the serene waterfall at far right. In the lakes of many Japanese gardens, symbolic islands are carefully constructed. An island shaped like a tortoise symbolizes longevity and is called Horai-jimi, island of eternal youth. This small lake with its island was part of the original Japanese Village and is in front of the Tea House. The Gift Shop may be seen through the foliage.

Mount Fuji Hedge

Mount Fuji Hedge in Japanese Tea Garden

In 1979 a new landscape with Mt. Fuji as the main theme in the form of a clipped hedge was designed by E. J. Schuster for the area just inside and to the left of the Main Gate. This landscape honors Makoto Hagiwara, who came from an area in Japan near Mt. Fuji. Visitors sipping tea in the tea house will be able to see Mt. Fuji in the distance, beyond the pond.

New Dragon Hedge

New Dragon Hedge of Japanese Tea Garden

To the left of Mt. Fuji Hedge is this nicely-clipped Dragon Hedge against a curtain of bamboo in the background.

Wisteria and Waterfall outside Gift Shop

View of waterfall and wisteria with Gift Shop in background

A beautiful spring morning shows the Japanese Tea Garden at its loveliest. At the far left, the Japanese wisteria planted by Makoto Hagiwara in the early 1900s blooms fragrantly on the Tea House roof while an azalea, dwarf tree, Japanese maple tree and fern-laden rocks lead the eye to the serene waterfall at far right. In the lakes of many Japanese gardens, symbolic islands are carefully constructed. An island shaped like a tortoise symbolizes longevity and is called Horai-jimi, island of eternal youth. This small lake with its island was part of the original Japanese Village and is in front of the Tea House. The Gift Shop may be seen through the foliage.

Pathway toward Mt. Fuji Hedge

View from Tea House path of Mt. Fuji Hedge

Behind the Tea House a gradually descending path winds by the new Dragon and Mt. Fuji Hedges on its way to the Main Gate. A bench to the left invites the visitor to stop and partake of the scene from a sheltered vantage point.

View of Main Gate

View of dwarf trees and Main Gate from path behind waterfall

A crooked path behind the waterfall in front of the Tea House wends its way among ferns and dwarf trees. Paths in the Tea Garden feature either graceful curves or a sudden change in angle as the ancient Japanese believed evil spirits travel in straight lines.

Japanese Wisteria on Tea House Roof

View of Tea House overhang laden with Japanese wisteria in full bloom

The Tea House is one of the surviving buildings from the Japanese Village. The roof of the Tea House, originally a thatching of rice straw, was repaired about 1932 and at that time was covered with cedar bark shingles brought from Japan. Today jasmine and green tea are served by kimono-clad Japanese ladies just as it has been for the past hundred years. Guests at the Tea House partake of their tea looking out at the waterfall and pond area through a fragrant curtain of Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda), a member of the pea family. This was originally planted by Makoto Hagiwara.

View from Tea House

View from Tea House with pond and stone lanterns

Guests to the Tea House are afforded impressive views of the waterfall and pond area with stone lanterns and the Mt. Fuji Hedge in the background. In 1960, the San Francisco Garden Club engaged the services of Nagao Sakurai, the same man who designed the Zen Garden, to redesign the entire pond area in front of the tea house.

View from top of Drum Bridge

A profusion of plants and trees in bloom greets the eye at the top of Drum Bridge. The Tea House is on the left, and a path leads from there over a gently arching bridge right to the Main Gate.

View from Tea House through Wisteria

View from Tea House with dwarf trees and rhododendron

Guests to the Tea House are afforded impressive views from every angle. This shows the hillside to the left of the waterfall and pond area. In 1960, the San Francisco Garden Club engaged the services of Nagao Sakurai, the same man who designed the Zen Garden, to redesign the entire pond area in front of the tea house. The Japanese wisteria vine with the gnarled trunk growing against the front of the Tea House was planted by Makoto Hagiwara.

Pathway to Tea House Deck

Azalea along pathway behind Tea House leading to wisteria-laden deck overlooking waterfall

Behind the Tea House is a path that curves enticingly to the deck overlooking the waterfall and pond area. Japanese wisteria lends a fragrant dimension to the tea-drinking experience. A lovely rhododendron in bloom adds a splash of brilliant color.

Drum Bridge

Drum Bridge of Japanese Tea Garden

The Drum Bridge or in Japanese Taiko Bashi, with its reflection forms a perfect circle. This type of bridge is made of carefully cut strips of wood which form a strong curve. The Drum Bridge was part of the Japanese Village of 1894.

Pathway to Drum Bridge

Tranquil view of iris and dwarf trees along pathway to Drum Bridge

Blooming irises and dwarf trees contribute to the tranquil scene to the left inside the Main Gate. From here a crooked pathway wends its way to Drum Bridge.

Irises in Bloom

Irises in bloom with ferns along the path

Spring brings forth a lovely profusion of blue irises in bloom along the pathway to Drum Bridge at the left of the Main Gate. Western Sword-ferns (Polystichum munitum), dwarf trees and an Augustine rhododendron (Rhododendron augustinii) from Western China add to the scenery.

View through Arch of Drum Bridge

View through arch of Drum Bridge

A tranquil scene through the arch of Drum Bridge rewards viewers as they cross the crooked stone bridge on the way to the Tea House.

View left of Long Bridge

View of water from Long Bridge

From the deck of Long Bridge, the view to the left encompasses the pathway that meanders parallel to Drum Bridge.

View of Drum Bridge

View of Drum Bridge in the distance with towering Monterey pines

This view of Drum Bridge is from behind the waterfall in front of the Tea House. A Camellia sasanqua in the lower right foreground leads the eye into lush vegetation surrounding Drum Bridge and culminating in the towering Monterey pines in the distance.

Cherry Trees in Full Bloom

View of Cherry Tree Lane in full bloom

Several cherry trees in full bloom can be seen behind the hedge that lines Cherry Tree Lane. The trees beyond are outside the boundaries of the Japanese Tea Garden.

View of Cherry Tree Lane near South Gate

View of Cherry Tree Lane near South Gate

Several blossoming cherry trees line Cherry Tree Lane near the South Gate.

Azalea, Wisteria and Cherry Tree in Bloom

View of cherry blossoms, azalea and wisteria from Long Bridge with Drum Bridge in background

Azalea, wisteria and cherry trees in bloom can been seen on the east end of the Long Bridge. In the distance to the right is a glimpse of Drum Bridge.

Pathway under Long Bridge

View on walkway toward Long Bridge

The pathway around the Main Pond leads under Long Bridge on its way to the Maple Lane and Sunken Garden areas.

View on walkway toward Long Bridge

View on walkway toward Long Bridge

The pathway around the Main Pond leads under Long Bridge on its way to the Maple Lane and Sunken Garden areas.

Dwarf Trees, Wisteria and Stone Lantern

View from Torii of dwarf trees, wisteria and stone lantern

The view down the hill to the right from the Torii includes dwarf trees, blooming fragrant wisteria and a stone lantern.

View of Temple Gate and Waterfall

View of Temple Gate and waterfall through dwarf trees

The pathway around the Main Pond affords lovely views of the Temple Gate. To the right a melodious waterfall cascades among the rocks shaded by a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).

Torii and Stone Lantern

View of Torii, dwarf trees and stone lantern

A hedge along the pathway lined with dwarf trees leads to a stone lantern while revealing impressive views of the Torii. This torii was built by Mr. Shimada in 1913 from California redwood. A torii often serves as a gateway to a Shinto shrine. Originally a Shinto shrine stood where the Pagoda now stands. The steep Penance Steps lead to the Torii from below.

View through Temple Gate toward Cherry Tree Lane

View through Temple Gate toward Cherry Tree Lane

This ornate, orange-painted gate came from the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. It is located at the top of the hill above the Fraser Collection of dwarf trees.

Path to Cherry Tree Lane

View from the west end of the Main Pond toward Cherry Tree Lane

At the west end of the Main Pond the stone block path forks toward Cherry Tree Lane. Partially obscured behind a tree to the left is a stone lantern.

View toward Cherry Tree Lane

View from the west end of the Main Pond toward Cherry Tree Lane

At the west end of the Main Pond the stone block path forks toward Cherry Tree Lane. Partially obscured behind a tree to the left is a stone lantern.

Cherry Trees in Bloom

View of cherry trees in various stages of bloom

Several cherry trees in various stages of bloom can be seen behind the hedge that lines Cherry Tree Lane.

View of North End of Main Pond

View of dwarf trees and stone lantern around Main Pond

A series of dwarf trees and a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) share the northern shoreline of the Main Pond with a stone lantern. In the placid pool, large golden carp catch the eye with their sinuous movement beneath the water's surface.

View toward Long Bridge from walkway

View towards Long Bridge from walkway

The pathway around the Main Pond leads under Long Bridge on its way to the Maple Lane and Sunken Garden areas.

View left of Long Bridge

View of water from Long Bridge

From the deck of Long Bridge, the view to the left encompasses the water and the pathway that meanders parallel to Drum Bridge.

Stone Lantern along edge of Main Road

View of stone lantern along edge of Main Pond

Many stone lanterns have been placed throughout the Japanese Tea Garden. Stone lanterns were introduced to Japan in the Sixth Century along with Buddhism. Pathways to temples and shrines were lit by oil lamps placed inside the lanterns. The typical stone lantern is made up of six parts: the base stone (jirin), the stem (sao), central platform (chudai), for the lamp oil (hibukuro), the light compartment, the broad roof (kasa), and at the top, the jewel (kurin).

Rhododendron along Pathway across Stone Bridge

View of rhododendron in bloom along pathway across stone bridge

A brilliant-blossomed rhododendron beckons the stroller to cross the stone bridge for closer appreciation. Just below the mirror-like surface of the pond, several large golden carp swim lazily.

View of Main Pond area with Stone Pagoda

View of Main Pond area with stone pagoda in foreground

In the foreground the roof of a stone pagoda lead the eye toward the mirror-like surface of the Main Pond. A pathway winds around the north edge of the pond past two stone lanterns, one at the base of the tree and another next to the fern-covered rocks. The spire at the top of a pagoda is called a sorin and its nine rings represent various heavens of the gods.

Stone Pagoda and Bronze Cranes in Main Pond

View of Main Pond with stone pagoda and bronze cranes

A stone pagoda rises from a small island in the Main Pond. To the right two bronze cranes, symbols of a "thousand years of life," strike a graceful pose. Behind the hedge is the pathway that wends along the pond edge.

Bronze Cranes in Main Pond

View of bronze cranes in Main Pond

Two bronze cranes, symbols of long life and fidelity, are located at the southwest end of the Main Pond.

Stone Lantern and Japanese Maple

View of stone lantern along pathway next to Main Pond

The view towards the Main Pond from Cherry Tree Lane encompasses a stone lantern across a small inlet and a landscape featuring a Japanese maple and delicate pink-flowering shrub.

Cherry Tree Lane

View of Cherry Tree Lane

The pathway along Cherry Tree Lane is defined by a traditional Japanese wooden fence on the right and a thick hedge on the left. Delicate cherry blossoms flutter lightly in the warm spring morning breeze.

View of Temple Gate and Pagoda

View of Temple Gate with Pagoda in background

The pathway that winds along the edge of the Main Pond offers spectacular views of the Temple Gate with Pagoda close behind it. A branch of cherry blossoms forms a graceful frame to the picture leading the eye to the stone lantern at left.

Temple Gate and Reflection

View of Temple Gate and reflection in Main Pond

The pathway that winds along the edge of the Main Pond offers spectacular views of the Temple Gate, Pagoda and Torii. Here the brilliant red of the Temple Gate is reflected in the surface of the Main Pond.

Torii and Stone Lantern

View of Torii, dwarf trees and stone lantern

A hedge along the pathway lined with dwarf trees leads to a stone lantern while revealing impressive views of the Torii. This torii was built by Mr. Shimada in 1913 from California redwood. A torii often serves as a gateway to a Shinto shrine. Originally a Shinto shrine stood where the Pagoda now stands. The steep Penance Steps lead to the Torii from below.

View of Temple Gate from Main Pond

View of Temple Gate from Main Pond

The pathway that winds along the edge of the Main Pond offers spectacular views of the Temple Gate, Pagoda and Torii. Here is a view of the Temple Gate.

View of Temple Gate from Main Pond

View of Temple Gate from Main Pond

The pathway that winds along the edge of the Main Pond offers spectacular views of the Temple Gate. The brilliant red of the Temple Gate is complimented by the burgundy leaves of the Japanese maple nearby; both contrast impressively with the surrounding rich lush greenery.

View of Temple Gate and Waterfall

View of Temple Gate, waterfall and Japanese maple

The pathway around the Main Pond affords lovely views of the Temple Gate. To the right a melodious waterfall cascades among the rocks shaded by a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).

View of Temple Gate and Waterfall

View of Temple Gate and waterfall through dwarf trees

The pathway around the Main Pond affords lovely views of the Temple Gate. To the right a melodious waterfall cascades among the rocks shaded by a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).

Torii

Torii

The pathway that winds along the edge of the Main Pond offers spectacular views of the Temple Gate, Pagoda and Torii. Here is a view of the Torii with the Pagoda directly beyond it.