The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is known as a wet walking garden, although it includes a Zen garden, or dry garden area as well. It was first developed in 1894 and is the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States. Baron Makoto Hagiwara, a wealthy Japanese landscape designer, constructed the garden, its pavilions and tea house. The Hagiwara family lived in, maintained and enhanced the Japanese Tea Garden from 1895 until 1942 and the beginning of World War II.
A 9000 pound Lantern of Peace, purchased with contributions from the children of Japan, was installed in 1953. Popular trees are black pines, red pines, flowering cherry and Japanese maple. In spring you find the wisteria (fuji) and tree peony (botan) . There are water iris (Iris laevigata) (Kakitsubata of Japan) and the large flowered showy (Iris ensata) (hanashobu) with brilliant flowers up to a foot across in the purest of whites through pink, lavender all the way to deep cobalt blue violet and darkest purples. There are also bicolors of various patterns and petalages,. In summer there are hydrangeas which give way to chrysanthemum, (symbol of the imperial house) and the bush clover (Hagi) of the fields in the autumn along with miscanthus (Japanese pampas grass). Winter sees the first camellias and the flowering plum or apricot (the Japanese Ume).