(San Fran Trip) Japanese Tea Garden – Golden Gate Park

Wanting to relive the Japan trip we made last summer, I had signed me and tfung up for the Japaense Tea Garden Tea Ceremony for the Friday morning. They only have openings on Wednesday and Friday mornings, so I had called in ahead of time to make a reservation. We made the reservation for 10:30 as it is free admissions into the Japanese garden until 10am every day. So we first came to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery the garden had to offer.

I honestly love Japanese gardens. They just give this sense of tranquility that I can never achieve in any other setting. It gives me a sense of comfort, that things will be alright. It’s just a great feeling, and I wish I had a Japanese garden easily accessible to me in Toronto.

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After enjoying the beautiful scenery, we went over to the center of the garden, which is where the snack shop is located. This was also the location of the tea ceremony.

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We could see the kimono-clad lady setting up for the tea ceremony, and after I snapped a few pictures, we decided to order some snacks while we’re waiting. After all, we hadn’t had any food that morning yet.

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We ordered the dorayaki and the green tea cheesecake. The dorayaki is kind of like two pancakes together with redbean paste filling. It is a sweet that was made famous (at least in my chidlhood) by the cartoon (or anime as it is referred to in Japan), Doraemon. The robot cat who was the star of the cartoon absolutely loved dorayaki. I thought it was pretty good but not really anything to note. It taste like the good quality ones I could buy in Toronto, at its freshest state. Other than that I hadn’t thought it was spectacular. I did however quite enjoy the greentea cheesecake. There was just enough greentea flavour, but still had the cheesecake taste. It was a good balance of the two. Every bite with the whipped cream was better than the next. My only complaint is that it was too small to share between the two of us.

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The tea ceremony was an amazing experience for me. We learned the proper procedures of the tea ceremony, as well as how to properly receive and drink our maccha tea.  You receive the bowl with your right hand hugging the side of the bowl so that the fingers point away from you, and the tips of your left hand’s fingers supporting the bottom edge of the bowl. You set it into the palm of your left hand, and then rotate the bowl three times clockwise. Then you drink from it, usually 3 sips to finish all of the tea in the bowl and you make a kind of slurping sound at the last sip. This slurp when done right is a sign of respect and appreciation for the beautiful tea that was brewed for you by the tea maker. There are also many other rules and procedures but this was the most important part.

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To balance the bitter taste of the maccha tea, we were served some sweets. They were the famous japanese mochi and some japanese crackers as well. The Tea was absolutely delicious in my opinion. It was so creamy and rich, with just enough bitterness to it that doesn’t overwhelm you. The mochi was of good texture, not too chewy but not too mushy, and the filling wasn’t too sweet either. The crackers were also slightly sweet and had a very slight burnt flavour to it.

I loved the whole experience so much, and I hope tfung did too. I’m more into the Japanese traditional stuff, like when we got to wear yukatas at the onsen in Tokyo. If you have any interest in Japanese traditions, I do recommend you check this place out. If not for the tea ceremony, for the garden and some of their snacks is good too!

Japanese Tea Garden Tea House on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

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