Okay, so it’s not Japan, but it’s probably the closest you’ll get within the states. San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden is the oldest of its kind in the U.S., built in 1894 for the California Midwinter International Exposition. Wander past weathered pagodas or follow the koi as they swim through the ponds. After a steep climb on all fours, you can triumphantly stand atop the arched drum bridge, also known as a moon bridge.
Go in March or April to see the cherry blossom tree in full bloom. And don’t forget to stop by the tea house for a cup of genmaicha (Japanese green tea paired with roasted brown rice) or some finger sandwiches.