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Tuesday 5 February 2013

Japanese Tea Garden

Last Monday Ava had a student free day. We took the opportunity to head into the city and do a little sight seeing.

We had originally planned on first going to see the Rudolf Nureyev exhibition at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Little did I know the De Young is closed on Mondays. Oops. Never mind. Right next door to the De Young is another place that we had on our list of places to visit - and it was open. Bonus!

We spent the afternoon exploring the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. It's such a lovely, peaceful spot and the girls enjoyed crossing over the many little bridges, following the meandering paths, watching the koi fish in the ponds and spotting friendly squirrels.

Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

The girls were impressed with the beautiful gardens

The girls' favourite bridge to cross over was the arched drum bridge, by far the steepest footbridge I've ever seen. I'm glad I didn't have to take the stroller over this one! Climbing to the top was pretty much akin to climbing a ladder and climbing back down was just a little too scary for Lola who needed my help. Ava had lots of fun climbing backwards and forwards over the bridge which wouldn't look out of place in a playground!

Clambering up the arched drum bridge

Almost to the top

We made it!

It's pretty high up here - and there are guys cleaning the pond below ;)

The Tea Garden has quite a few pagodas dotted around its grounds. Ava was quite intrigued by these traditional Japanese structures, quite different from anything she is used to seeing.

Pagoda posing!

A little dancing under the pagoda

Simply beautiful

Ava takes in the view of the pagoda from below

Another pagoda building. This one houses the gift shop.

A pagoda at the entrance too

After walking around for a while we decided to check out the gift shop. I purchased a pack of tissue paper blow up balls for the girls to play with. They had so much fun playing with the balls in the Tea Garden. A gentle breeze helped keep the balls afloat in the air for just a little while, making them seem just that little bit magical.

Lola throws her ball in the air

I love this shot

Ava throws her ball while Lola attempts to add more air to hers

Ava and the ball in the air

A friendly squirrel stopped by to watch the girls play with their paper balls. No doubt he was after something to eat!

Looking for food 

Hello little squirrel

Just like the squirrel we were starting to feel a little peckish so we bought some Pocky and Yan Yan snacks from the gift shop and headed over to the tea house to eat. The girls were pretty happy with their Japanese treats. In fact, I now have two little Pocky obsessed girls! Lucky our local supermarket sells it too. 

While the girls ate their Pocky, and tried to fend off the hungry squirrel (which was under the table hoping they'd drop their food!) I relaxed with a delicious cup of Genmaicha green tea. Japanese green tea really is just so good.

Pocky for Lola, Yan Yan for Ava

Pocky for my dolly too

We really enjoyed our afternoon in the Japanese Tea Garden. I had been a little concerned that the girls would be bored but they had such a great time following the winding paths and crossing the little (and big!) bridges. 

The girls and I

From Spring through Fall the Japanese Tea Garden hosts tea ceremony demonstrations. Hosts dressed in kimonos serve matcha green tea and popular Japanese confections while demonstrating the ancient customs involved in the ceremony. Kim loves his green tea so we'll definitely be heading back to the Japanese Tea Garden to take part in this at some point, hopefully during March or April when the gardens are abloom with cherry blossoms. Just imagine how much more beautiful the gardens will be then...

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