Before we depart from San Francisco, there is one more stop I have to make, and that is the Japanese Tea Garden, located inside the Golden Gate Park (which is actually a huge area, and you will find universities and other objects inside the park). The Tea Garden is more intimate and private, and while we loved exploring the busy city life of San Francisco, it was a welcome change to enter this zen zone.
Inside the Japanese Tea Garden in San FranciscoThe oldest public Japanese garden in the United States, this complex of many paths, ponds and a tea house features native Japanese and Chinese plants and trees. The garden contains sculptures and structures influenced by Buddhist and Shinto religious beliefs, as well as many elements of water and rocks to create a calming landscape designed to slow people down. Entrance is 8$, but tea and other refreshments cost extra.
I loved looking at the ponds and discovering the many varieties of fish that happily roam the waters. You can find other tourists here as well, but the garden is layed out in a way that you will never come across a huge crowd. Many paths lead through it and there always seems to be something that's waiting to be discovered, for example a moon bridge, that connects two parts of the shore. A moon bridge is a highly arched pedestrian bridge. It is named so because when reflected on the water, the full circle shape it creates resembles the moon.
The distinctive and particular architecture and design of the Japanese Tea Garden is influenced by various aspects of Japanese culture and, more specifically, Japanese religion. The most prominent of these being the ancient Japanese religion of Shintoism. In Shintoism, it is believed that the spirits of ancestors, and spirits of the gods themselves, are manifested in nature. The garden is designed so as to promote the happiness of these spirits, and to properly coexist with them. Though the design is meant to convey many different elements of nature, flow, and Zen, all fundamentals in Buddhism, it is done simply.
After our visit we roamed the streets some more. Just as the sun was staring to set I managed to grab a few street scenes. While the steep hills of San Francisco can be a nightmare to drivers, it's very interesting to see them in pictures. The architecture is varied and in every street you can discover houses that amaze you.
We really enjoyed our stay in San Francisco. It's a city full of culture, arts and life. It was really great to be able to explore the city by foot, something we would only be able to do once more in Las Vegas, later on. We spent 4 days in San Francisco, and on the morning of the 4th day, we packed our things, left our AirBnb apartment and headed into the Sierra mountain range towards Yosemite National Park. But more on that in the next installment.
End of Part Nine
To be continued...