Thursday, April 21, 2016

Santa Cruz Mountains: Saratoga, Hakone Gardens

update/p.392

Hakone Gardens  21000 Big Basin Way (Hwy. 9), (408) 741-4994.  M-F 10-5, Sat-Sun 11-5; Nov-Feb to 4.  $10, 65+ & 5-17 $8.  Tea & cookies:  Sat-Sun in summer; $5.  Tea ceremony:  3rd Sun of month, Apr-Nov; $7.

wisteria in bloom at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California
wisteria in bloom at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California

Reached via a steep, narrow, paved road off the highway, this is the oldest authentic Japanese-style residential garden in the Western Hemisphere.  Originally a private garden but now a city park, it is typical of a mid-17th-century residential garden and is composed of four separate areas:  a Hill and Pond Garden,
Hill and Pond Garden at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California
Hill and Pond Garden at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California

a Tea Garden, a Zen Garden (where stones can represent either water or clouds, and sometimes gardens or mountains),
Zen Garden at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California
Zen Garden at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California

and a Bamboo Garden that boasts the largest collection of Japanese bamboo in a public park in the western world (bamboo from the garden is popular with decorators and available for sale in the gift shop).
Bamboo Garden at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California
Bamboo Garden at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California

Besides being soothing, a three-level waterfall symbolizes from the top down heaven-man-earth.
three-level waterfall at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California
three-level waterfall at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California

Special features include a Japanese-style house built without nails or adhesives,
Japanese house at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California
Japanese house at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California

a pond stocked with eye-catching koi (certain orange-spotted ones are valued at up to $40,000 each!),


and three authentic tea ceremony rooms.  The natural greens in this garden bring calmness and are accented with seasonal bloom.  A claim to Hollywood fame--the final third of "Memoirs of a Geisha: was filmed here.  A picnic area with tables is available.  Cultural classes are scheduled regularly, and an annual Japanese Cultural Festival is held each May.  

More things to do in Saratoga.

More things to do in nearby Los Gatos.

Travel articles to inspire and help you plan some spectacular getaways.

images and video ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

 

3 comments:

  1. Wow, I can't imagine a koi fish could be worth $40,000! The gardens are beautiful. I'm sure it would be a peaceful place to spend an afternoon and to experience an authentic tea ceremony.

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  2. It is lovely to see the spring flowers as we head into winter in the southern hemisphere.

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  3. The Hakone Gardens are beautiful. I love the simplicity and serenity of Japanese gardens.

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