The Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, California, is a popular feature of Golden Gate Park, originally built as part of a sprawling World's Fair, the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. For more than 20 years San Francisco Parks Trusts' Park Guides have given free tours to San Francisco Parks trust members, providing context and history for this historic Japanese-style garden. After the conclusion of the World's Fair, Makoto Hagiwara, a Japanese immigrant and gardener, approached John McLaren with the idea to convert the temporary exhibit into a permanent park.
Hagiwara personally oversaw the building of the Japanese Tea Garden and was official caretaker of the garden from 1895 to 1925. He specifically requested that one thousand flowering cherry trees be imported from Japan, as well as other native plants, birds, and the now famous goldfish. His family lived in and maintained the Japanese Tea Garden until 1942, when Executive Order 9066 forced them to leave San Francisco and relocate to an internment camp with thousands of other Japanese American families. The garden was renamed the 'Oriental Tea Garden', and the garden fell into disarray.