San Francisco: Golden Gate Park & Japanese Tea Gardens

So San Francisco has a fuck-off massive park in the middle, well not the middle but near enough. Oh and it’s pretty sweet. It’s like a botanical utopia bustling with millions of different things to do. One of which is the Japanese Tea Gardens.

Situated in the heart of the park the gardens cost $7 to enter. While they are a modest size, they are definitely worth the price of admission. The garden was designed in 1953 by Nagao Sakurai. Such landscape gardens were influenced by Zen Buddhism in China with every item containing spiritual symbolism.

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The gardens are at their best when illuminated by the Californian sun, which I was lucky enough to be under. The scenery was beautifully tranquil and was something I had never seen before. It is almost like a gateway into an incredibly alien culture, and one that I could stay in for a long time.

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I felt somewhat spiritual wondering around the gardens, gazing at the incredible Japanese architecture and knowing that everything was there for a reason. From the rocks and bushes to the trees and the water itself, everything was symbolic. In the midst of the garden I felt connected to this spiritual meaning of each an everything that I saw. I know this sounds ridiculously pretentious, but it is something you must experience in person.

The rest of the Golden Gate Park is similarly impressive with its towering trees and woodland trails. There are more gardens such as the botanical gardens which I did not visit, but I can imagine they are just as impressive. Also there is a flower conservatory, a classical music museum and a museum on science that all looked very interesting.

Further through the park is Stow Lake which to my delight had pedalos. Pedalos are an amazing mode of transportation. I love pedalos. Maybe it’s the big kid inside me but I could stay on a pedalo all day. Someone really needs to invent a pedalo for the road, like a tricycle-come-pedalo that could even be a convertible. Oh the possibilities. So yeah the lake is great and adds even more beauty to the park. It’s not really a park actually, it’s more of a nature reserve or something.

While we sat beside the lake we could hear the distant rumble of music. I went to explore and found that there was a festival on. Outside Lands festival is one of America’s biggest festivals playing in the Golden Gate Park. Headlining was Kanye West, Macklemore, The Killers and the Arctic Monkeys. I listened for a while whilst trying to find a better vantage point, but to no avail. For some obscure reason the place was pretty well guarded…

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