How does the Japanese tea garden look like? Generally, the Japanese tea garden embraces a huge territory with lakes, sometimes waterfalls and wonderful plants. Each plant in the Japanese garden possesses its particular place and symbolizes something, as the Japanese strongly believe in the magic powers of nature. Pine is a greatly loved tree in Japan, a symbol of the dignified old age and a necessary constituent of any Japanese tea garden.
The red pine is a feminine symbol and the black pine is a masculine one. The flowering cherry is a symbol of Japan and a container of its national spirit. The Japanese maple comes in a great amount of varieties and shapes in any Japanese garden and it is an object of Japanese literature and arts. The Japanese garden is in generous colorful bloom in any season as some plants give flowers in summer, the others in autumn, the next ones in winter and spring. That is the reason why the Japanese tea garden is always a palette of colors and beauty beyond any description of words.
Summer is a season of the iris, which is presented in many varieties and species, and hydrangeas with a huge blossom and splendid foliage. The autumn is the time of chrysanthemum, which is a symbol of the imperial house, the bush clover on the fields and the Japanese pampas grass (Miscanthus). Winter comes with the first camellias and the flowering plum or apricot; those blossoms are pink, white or red. The main attraction of the garden is the Japanese tea house, where the visitors can try traditional green or jasmine tea with national cookies in a peaceful and hospitable atmosphere. The tea house is usually hidden somewhere in the corner of the garden with a narrow path leading to it and with the windows overlooking picturesque scenes like a waterfall or an arched bridge over a stream.
The ancient and still-lasting tradition is that the host must see if the tea room is carefully cleaned before inviting guests and having the tea drinking ceremony. One of the most impressive features of the tea house is its mild and subdued light. The tea house is a direct opposition to the traditional Japanese household architecture, as it is a totally closed building with small windows. Small windows, a low ceiling, a small size of the room and restful light give an impression of isolation from the whole world, as if there is nothing and nobody except you, your host and this room all-around. However, people have an opportunity to visit the Japanese garden not only in Japan. The USA is proud of the oldest Japanese garden in the country, located in the Gold Gate Park. This is the oldest and the most exciting Japanese-style garden in the USA, established in 1894. Since then, the garden has been greatly expanded and now it covers five acres area with a chain of lakes and a western plateau. Since 1895 and for the following thirty years a Japanese local designer, Makato Hagiwara, has managed the garden. Due to him and to the successor, his son-in-law, Goro Tozawa Hagiwara, the garden possesses its present original and magnificent appearance. In particular, Goro Tozawa Hagiwara realized the dream of planting 1000 cherries in the garden and many other exotic plants, which had never been seen outside Japan before. Hard work and great ideas have been put into the creation of the garden, making it a serene and unique place, impressing everyone who has ever visited it.