Japan in California: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We then arrived in the lower part of the garden, and were immediately greeted by some hosts that were goosing around.
They were ready to give out big, welcoming hugs.
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.
Inspired by our avian friends, some of our own were eager to spread their wings.
"Boys will be boys," said mother goose (and mother duck).
It was golden hour in the Japanese garden. We basked in the delicious liquid gold, held each other tight.
The men were having a private moment, a secret conversation between men.
Things like, "don't worry, we're having ramen for dinner."
As the golden beams fell upon the golden leaves, we concluded our visit to the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose.
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:
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