Hakone Gardens in Saratoga is a tiny bit of paradise hidden in the hills of Silicon Valley. As the website states, it is one of the oldest Japanese gardens in the Western Hemisphere!
It is a place where photographers flock, where newly-weds come to get wedding pictures taken, families come for a leisurely stroll, kids love imagining adventures in the bamboo forest and of course, enjoy feeding the ever hungry koi fish.
This is perfect to get away from the sounds of the city – taking the steep driveway road to the gardens transports you to a different world. Weekdays are less crowded than weekends when you will see wedding parties and photographers all vying for the perfect photograph.
Entry to Hakone Gardens is
$5$10 and discounted for seniors and students. Pay the entry fee and you get your golden ticket to your place of ‘zen’.
The fishes are wonderful and you can buy packets for fish food for 50c at the shop. I am never sure who enjoy the feedings more – the kids or the fish..?
[August 2020 update: The website does not indicate fish food available to feed the fish in the pond, so I am not sure if this is still available/allowed; but leaving this part in from the original post as it was definitely a wonderful and fun experience for us during our initial visits there. And our last visit there was a while ago during which we just strolled the park]
The bamboo garden is another serene place to stroll, and you are guaranteed beauty and peace within minutes. This is true not just of the bamboo garden, but Hakone Gardens as a whole.
This is definitely a place worth visiting and for us, it is also worth repeated visits to get away from it all. I consider myself fortunate indeed to live just minutes away from this paradise in our corner of the world!
More info for the gardens can be found at the website.