I am sure that you have seen the Japanese Garden in the Golden Gate Park. But have you seen the Japanese Garden in San Mateo? I would give a 50/50 bet that you have not been there even if you live in San Mateo! So, it is your chance. The Labor Day weekend is upon us and your options are limited because of the Bay Bridge closing and the Rim Fire blocking of the Hwy 120 to Yosemite. OK, so you will not do much hiking in the San Mateo Japanese Garden, but if you don’t mind a leisurely stroll in beautiful surroundings before or after your Holiday lunch or just meditating or resting, it might be worthwhile to spend some time there. The garden was designed by Nagao Sakurai - Chief Gardener at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. It is open from 10:00 AM to 4 PM on weekdays and from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
Per article in SF Gate of March 3rd, 2011:
“Don't miss these tea garden attractions: Walk up the rock and concrete steps to the azumaya, a delicate gazebo. Here you can view a map that lists all the plants in the garden. The wooden chashitsu, or teahouse, offers a bench where you can relax and view the pond and gardens.”
The pond is marvelous anyway you look at it.
“The shinden, a small shrine behind a bamboo fence, was given to San Mateo by its Japanese sister city, Toyonaka, to celebrate the garden's 25th anniversary in 1991. Most hidden of all is a diminutive five-level granite pagoda, which you come upon near a waterfall. It's a perfect place to sit on the large boulders and meditate” – SF Gate, March 3rd, 2011.
And if you are into Japanese gardens, please check the ones in Hayward and Saratoga as well (check See California for more information on Japanese Gardens in the Bay Area).