A friend and I visited the Japanese Tea Gardens and I videotaped the visit and then I did a little research so I could do an intelligent voice over with the information of how it came to be. But when I edited it, I thought that the visual was too nice to be hearing me chatting away.
However, the information is so interesting, I want to share it with you here.
The SF Japanese Tea Garden was created by Makoto Hagiwara for the 1894 Worlds Fair. He created it with a lot of his own plants and many of the artifacts and statues were his also. He and his family tended the garden between 1894 until 1942, when the family was interred due to anti-Japanese sentiments during WWII.
The garden went into decline and many of the artifacts were stolen and it was renamed “The Oriental Tea Garden. After the war though, the garden got its original name back and they named the street after Mr. Hagiwara.
Another interesting fact is that Mr. Hagiwara started serving Fortune Cookies in the Tea Shop in 1900. The custom spread to Chinatown in San Francisco and then all over the world. In the 80’s, the Hong Kong Noodle Company disputed the origin of the cookie and there was a hearing to determine who the real creator was in fact, and it turned out to be Mr. Hagiwara. Isn’t that interesting?
I loved my time there and hope you will enjoy this video as much as I did in the making.