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… japaneseteagardensf.com .