Cherry Blossoms, Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco

For a few years now, I’ve been wanting to see the cherry blossom trees while they are in bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco.  I walked by the gardens a couple weeks ago on our way to the California Academy of Sciences, and poked my head in to see if the trees were blossoming yet, but, no, they weren’t.  I thought, just maybe, they would flower earlier than usual due to the warm winter we’ve been having.  The website states the trees blossom throughout the months of March and April.  I was there the first week March… just a bit on the early side.

Today, we had more luck.  I decided to try to arrive at the gardens before 10:00am, to take advantage of the free admission.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, admission is free between 9:00 and 10:00am.  We were blessed with no traffic and a quick trip into the city.  And, yes, I could see even before we entered that the flowers were blooming and beautiful.

My son was reluctant to go to the gardens today, and he was pressuring me to skip them in order to go straight to the Academy of Sciences.  The moment we walked into the gardens, however, his attitude changed completely.  He immediately said, “let’s explore!”, so we did.  I like to let him lead when we’re in botanical gardens.  It makes it more fun for him, and gives the outing more of an adventurous feel.  We followed the path immediately to the left, toward the arched drum bridge, which my son was looking forward to walking (climbing?) over.  Unfortunately, it was under construction!  We watched the men work for a while, then proceeded further along the paths.  We climbed the steps to look at the pagodas, and meandered around to the tea house.  We walked around the paths again… and again.

Everywhere we went, the scenery was gorgeous.  My son was enchanted with everything… the stepping stone paths,  the variety of bridges, the reflective pools, the architecture, the vibrant blooming flowers, the huge trees, and, especially, the koi ponds.  Another boy asked my son if he would like to pet the fish.  My son immediately exclaimed, “yes,” flopped down on the ground next to the boy, pushed up his sleeve, and stuck his hand in the icy water.  I was a bit nervous at first.  Do koi bite?  Well, apparently not.  I guess they must be pretty gentle, or they wouldn’t be a symbol of love and friendship in Japan.   My son was completely enthralled, remaining with those fish for the next forty minutes.

If you’d like to see the cherry blossom trees in bloom, be sure to do so within the next month or so.  For more information (hours, fees, etc), visit their website… .


  1. Hello! I am doing a short free video about the Japanese Tea Garden but ALAS the cherry trees are not in bloom but WOW your picture of blossoms would go nicely may I use one of your photos in my video with full credit however you would like at the end? e.g. “Cherry blossom photo use courtesy of www,” Again I don’t make money and have none to give you. Here is a sample of my free video work:


      1. OK Your credit is at the end on PART FIVE — can’t remember which Part your wonderful cherry blossom picture is found (they only bloom for a few months during the entire year!)
        Parts One through Five of Steven Pitsenbarger’s Japanese Tea Garden Botanical Tour.
        Filmed in San Francisco, California’s famous Golden Gate Park. About 20 minutes total running time.

        PART ONE

        PART TWO

        PART THREE

        PART FOUR

        PART FIVE


        1. Canon EOS Rebel Digital, but I don’t know anything more specific than that. It was a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law when she bought herself a new one. We love it!


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