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Japanese Tea Garden:A Survivor of Time

Right in the middle of the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the Japanese Tea Garden offers an exclusive way to spend a nice afternoon surrounded by nature. The Japanese Tea Garden was first developed in 1894 under the name of “Japanese Village” at the California Midwinter International Exposition. In this way, this garden has now become the oldest Japanese garden in all the United States.

Since it developed as an idea of Baron Makoto Hagiwara, a wealthy Japanese landscape designer, the Japanese Tea Garden was maintained and enhanced by his family from 1895 until 1942. During this time, Mr. Hagiwara constructed the garden, the pavilions, and the tea house, increased the garden’s area in five acres, and imported several plants, goldfish, bronzes, rare birds, statues, a Shinto shrine, a wooden Buddha, a porcelain lantern and much more.

Due to World War II, the Hagiwara family was forced to evict and each member was relocated in concentration camps with other Americans of Japanese descent. Lamentably, the garden was barely destroyed during this period. Most of the structures were demolished or moved from the original locations, several sculptures disappeared, most of the plants died and the garden was renamed The Oriental Tea Garden.

In spite of these sad events, in 1952, the Garden was officially reinstated. After this, many people were interested in helping to develop the garden once again and turned it into the magical place it was once. The Japanese Garden is truly a survivor of time, and it represents a great way to spend some time with family while learning about other cultures. If you are visiting San Francisco, do not miss your chance to visit the Japanese Tea Garden.

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