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5 Mind-Blowing Japanese Gardens in California Worth Visiting

5 Mind-Blowing Japanese Gardens in California Worth Visiting

Visit these alluring Japanese Gardens in California. Behold the wonder of Japanese aesthetics and bask in the beauty of nature. Team


4 min read

May 09, 2023

California holds a lot of promises for locals and tourists looking to explore the state for botanical gardens that are easy on the eye. With many seductive California gardens and outdoor opportunities spread across the different cities, you are in for a treat wherever you go.

However, if you would love to explore nature at its finest with an aura of Japanese tradition, there is no better place to be than a Japanese Garden. These unique botanical gardens are a breath of fresh air — and you can tell once you set foot in them. Initially, these gardens served as a serene location for monks to meditate on Buddha's teachings. These days, it has become a significant part of Japanese culture and lifestyle.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing atmosphere to meditate, sip tea and relax, celebrate with friends, admire the beauty of nature, click some breathtaking pictures, or take a peaceful stroll, a Japanese garden is the perfect go-to option. All you have to do is make your pick, visit, get lost in the moment, and create unforgettable memories.

Like most rose gardens in California and beautiful gardens in San Francisco and other cities, these gardens are the perfect escape location from the hustle and bustle of the state. Tended by excellence-driven professionals with a vast knowledge of the Japanese minimalistic architectural and landscape setting, these Japanese Gardens in California give a tranquil atmosphere that you will cherish.

This Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco features unique elements like bamboo fences, lanterns, stepping stones, and water basins.

Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco

Location: 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

The Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco came into existence in 1894 as a part of the World Fair, California Midwinter International Exposition, making it the oldest Japanese Garden in the United States. As one of the most attractive gardens in Golden State Park, this traditional Japanese Garden is hard to miss. Little wonder it is a popular location for both locals and visitors looking to get lost in the beauty of nature without any distractions.

This beautiful California garden located in the heart of San Francisco features a beautiful drum bridge, Buddha statues, gorgeous blooming flowers, historic pagodas, koi ponds, and much more. It is a sight to behold. But then, this isn't just the regular Japanese Garden. It is a Japanese Tea Garden. Would you care for a cup of tea after exploring this beautiful location? Feel free to visit the on-site teahouse and enjoy a wide variety of tea and light yummy snacks. 

This charming, well-maintained garden possesses everything you'll find in a peaceful Japanese Samurai Estate, making it the perfect relaxation spot.

Hakone Gardens

Location: 2100 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070

Hakone Gardens is an ancient Japanese-style garden originally known as the private estate of San Francisco philanthropists, Oliver and Isabel Stine. Set South of the San Francisco Bay Area, Hakone Gardens has become known as the crown jewel Japanese Garden in Saratoga for obvious reasons.

You'll find an exciting variety of trees and plants, a bamboo garden, a lovely pond filled with huge koi fishes, shaded seating areas, and some mind-blowing architectural structures that bring you closer to Japan. Hakone Gardens is mostly the go-to location for weddings, receptions, and romantic picnics. So, don't be surprised if you get tempted to seize the moment and click some pictures of this breathtaking scenery. 

There is an interesting little gift shop stocked with high-quality Japanese goods like hand-glazed noodles bowls. What's more, if you ever need to grab a bite, Japanese drinks and snacks are available to satisfy your cravings.

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Kyoto Gardens is an ideal getaway location in the middle of Los Angeles enhanced by lovely cascading waterfalls, lovely flowers, and serene ponds.

Kyoto Gardens Los Angeles

Location: Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Kyoto Gardens Los Angeles is a perfect replica of the historic 16th century Samurai Lord, Kiyomasa Kato — and is one of California's hidden gems worth exploring. The secret Japanese botanical garden is located in Little Tokyo, a district largely populated by Japanese Americans.

Featuring cascading waterfalls, manicured greenery, and serene ponds, this location is a perfect fit for different events, including birthday parties, get-togethers, picnics, and weddings. You'll appreciate the beauty of this rooftop Japanese garden in Los Angeles on a cloudless, starry night when you can wish upon a star or find your inner Zen. 

Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego, plays host to more than 240,000 visitors every year, so you're in good company if you choose to pay a visit.

Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego

Location: 2215 Pan American E Road, San Diego, CA 92101

Also referred to as Sankei-en, this stunning Japanese Garden sits comfortably in Balboa Park, San Diego, California. It became accessible to locals and tourists in 1991. The Sankei-en symbolizes the bond between Yokohama and San Diego. For this reason, cuts across both cultures and gives visitors a unique experience.

Designed with elegance and simplicity in mind, this location oozes charm and is easy to navigate. From the sukiya-style buildings and landscape exhibits to the koi ponds, you can be sure this spot will give you a worthwhile experience. The name probably gives it away. So, yes, this is a suitable family and friends bonding location where you can choose to do anything and everything with your loved ones. 

You could visit the Bosatsu Statue, take a peaceful stroll, watch the adorable koi fishes, sip tea or grab a bite at the Tea pavilion, and get immersed in many other fun activities. Without a doubt, you and your loved ones are in for a swell time.

The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys follows the five Japanese Garden design principles.

The Japanese Garden, Van Nuys

Location: San Fernando Valley, 6100 Woodley Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91406

This exquisite Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, popularly known as Suiho En (Garden of Fragrance and Water), came into the limelight after its dedication in 1984. Over the years, it has become one of the best places to visit in California. 

Exotic birds, lakes, waterfalls, streams, different native Japanese plants, laudable architecture, walkways, flowers like azaleas, lotuses, magnolias, and wisteria, this California treasured garden has got them all. There are many things you can do for fun in Suiho En, ranging from taking a stroll to visiting the tea house. Nonetheless, there is one thing you should consider adding to your to-do list: Shutting out the world for a few minutes and meditating on the desert gardens with a pergola. It will be worth your while.

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