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Places to Visit in San Francisco, America
Japanese Tea Garden
Located in San Franciscos Golden Gate Park, the harmonious Japanese Tea Garden is one of the parks most popular attractions. The garden is decorated with beautiful statues and structures, including a large pagoda.One of San Franciscos most prominent Japanese citizens, Baron Makoto Hagiwara, a wealthy landscape designer, asked the city if he could make the garden permanent. They agreed. Hagiwara devised a traditional design not unlike the gardens in his native country and turned the small garden into a two-hectare (five-acre) permanent exhibit complete with exotic animals, statues, and other structures important to the make-up of a classic Japanese garden.

The garden was maintained by Hagiwara and his descendants until World War II, at which time the landscapers family was moved to one of the many interment camps built to house Japanese-Americans during the turbulent war years. During that era, the garden became known as the Oriental Tea Garden.Today, the Japanese Tea Garden is an important and much-visited part of the Golden Gate Park and attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.
In Japan, gardens are considered the highest form of art and great thought was put into the design of this garden. With winding paths, a number of water features, bridges, and - of course - plants and trees, the garden promotes a feeling of tranquility. The main pond is surrounded by dwarf trees and a magnificent Buddha sits near the Long Bridge. The Sunken Gardens are adorned with stone lanterns and rhododendron and the Zen Garden - a dry landscape - is a miniature mountain scene with stone waterfall and white gravel river.
A colorful pagoda sits in the center of the garden near the Temple Gate, surrounded by a traditional rock garden, and the Tea House beckons guests to come and enjoy a quiet moment and a warm beverage.
The first evidence of fortune cookies in the United States is in connection with this tea garden. The descendants of Makoto Hagiwara lay claim to introducing the fortune cookie to the United States from Japan. Visitors to the garden were served fortune cookies made by a San Francisco bakery, Benkyodo.It is now known that fortune cookies originated in Japan as early as 1878.

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