Destination San Mateo Japanese Tea Garden

Steps away from downtown San Mateo, near Suruki Supermarket and tucked away in a landmark location of Central Park, you’ll discover an authentic Japanese Tea Garden.  Designed by the same landscape architect that created the Zen Garden at Golden Gate Park’s Japanese Tea Garden, Nagao Sakurai of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo has created one of the finest tea gardens in California right in your own backyard.

You will be transported into a tranquil landscape as you wander the quiet pathways past blossoming Cherry Trees, Japanese Maples and Bonsai.  The gardens contain a granite tiered pagoda, tea house, Koi pond, wooden bridges and bamboo grove. Design elements include a turtle-shaped island, large trees in the back of the garden which represent mountains, water features representing lakes and ponds, and river rock representing beaches, according to Mike Allen, a garden curator and caretaker. The landscaping perfectly complements the blend of water and earth elements with hidden treasures everywhere, including a shrine behind a bamboo fence –  a gift from San Mateo’s Japanese sister city, Toyonaka, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the garden.


The garden is beautiful throughout the year, but we recommend a visit late winter and early spring (especially March/April) when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

A living highlight of the garden is the kidney shaped pond decorated with colorful Koi.  Koi are seen in many Japanese gardens and are a symbol of love and friendship. During spring and summer months, the Koi are fed at 11 am and 3 pm daily through November. Insider Tip: Stand on the bridge for the best view.

Gaining 4 Stars on Yelp, this garden is a must see for all San Mateo and surrounding residents. This is what a few happy visitors are saying:

‘…I finally discovered the Japanese gardens inside San Mateo Central Park! What a hidden gem in my own back yard…’ – Abby S. from Belmont

‘Pretty, peaceful. A hidden treasure in the middle of Central Park.’ – Ashley K. from Pasadena


This quiet garden oasis of serenity in the midst of San Mateo’s urban bustle is free to the public and open 10am to 4pm Monday – Friday and 11am to 4pm on weekends at 50 E. 5th Ave. in downtown San Mateo. Plan to take a stroll and spend your spring locally taking in the views at the tea garden this season.

Conveniently located between San Francisco and Palo Alto in San Mateo, Bay Meadows offers housing within walking distance of Caltrain. Ease of transportation is only one reason you’ll fall in love with Bay Meadows. Smartly-designed, high-quality new homes and apartments sit among 18 acres of open space, which includes parks, a community garden, public art, ball fields, bocce and basketball courts and a new playground. All this just a walk from Hillsdale Shopping Center, Whole Foods, Blue Bottle Coffee, Humphry Slocombe, Slices San Mateo, ROAM Artisan Burgers, Fieldwork Brewing Co. and more. Learn more about what Midurban life offers by joining us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.