Japan in California: Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family

There are two things that I'm loving this season: colors (Fall!) and diversity (elections!).

You can find both in California.

For the first, you have to look beyond the native evergreens. For the second, well, it took some time but now we have a colorful mix of cultures.

To continue my Exotic California series, may I present a little corner of Japan in Northern California: the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose. 

This jewel of a garden is situated in the heart of San Jose, close to one of San Jose's best places to visit with kids: Happy Hallow Park and Zoo. While Happy Hallow is a great place to run wild, the Japanese Friendship Garden is good for quiet contemplation. For in a Japanese garden, every element has a philosophical and spiritual meaning.

What does the fishtail roof charm symbolize? I wonder.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Japanese Roof

As soon as we stepped into the garden, a red rainbow of a bridge greeted our eyes. The kids (and the young-at-heart) couldn't wait to climb on top for a view of the pond. Paired with that Californian blue sky and Fall foliage, the colors were out of this world.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - The Pond

The bright-red arch bridge is a typical element in Japanese gardens. It symbolizes the crossing from the physical world to the spiritual, from the profane to the sacred (symbolism of the color red), it's the road to wisdom and transcendence.

Let's see if the kids will better behave after crossing the bridge.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Red Bridge

I wasn't sure whether it was the red bridge or the effect of late afternoon sunlight on the pond, but there was stillness in the air.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Kids by the Pond
Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Flower by the Pond
Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Flower

We discreetly followed the stone steps by the cascade, skipped downhill with the stream, and then crossed over the river by jumping over stepping stones. As visitors of the garden, we inadvertently followed the carefully choreographed sequence, we stepped where we should, and our eyes followed the paths intended.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - River

We then arrived in the lower part of the garden, and were immediately greeted by some hosts that were goosing around.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Goosing Around 1

They were ready to give out big, welcoming hugs.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Goosing Around 2

Although cranes would have been more fitting in a Japanese garden, these migrating Canada geese will do.

On the other side of a winding bridge, a Japanese garden rest house stood, illuminated by the autumn flames.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Zig Zag Bridge
Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Japanese Tea House

Inspired by our avian friends, some of our own were eager to spread their wings.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Boy Chasing Goose
Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Bridge Stand

"Boys will be boys," said mother goose (and mother duck).

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Goosing Around Flight

It was golden hour in the Japanese garden. We basked in the delicious liquid gold, held each other tight.

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Dad with Kids

The men were having a private moment, a secret conversation between men.

Things like, "don't worry, we're having ramen for dinner."

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Dad and Boy

As the golden beams fell upon the golden leaves, we concluded our visit to the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose. 

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family - Fall View

Stay tuned for my post on other beautiful Japanese Gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area and our Tokyo adventure with an eight-month-old baby!

 

Here are the directions to the Japanese Friendship Garden:

Pin for future reference:

Japanese Friendship Garden San Jose with Family Poster

Transcend and Travel On,

Melody xx