Enjoy a meditative cup of tea and sample popular Japanese refreshments in the newly refurbished Tea House which has a custom-designed irori or farmhouse style family table. The Tea House is nestled in the center of The Japanese Tea Garden and overlooks the picturesque landscape and South-facing pond.
The Fortune Cookie StoryAccording to family members, Mr. Hagiwara introduced fortune cookies to the United States from Japan in the 1890’s or early 1900’s. Initially, the cookies were made on site by hand using a special iron mold or kata. When demand grew, Mr. Hagiwara hired San Francisco confectioner Benkyodo to produce the fortune cookies in large quantities. Original fortune cookies made in Japan were savory rather than sweet, and it is believed that Benkyodo developed a vanilla recipe for Mr. Hagiwara to make it more appealing to Western palates, the flavor that is now widely popular across the U.S. The tradition of serving fortune cookies to Tea Garden visitors continues today; one is tucked inside every bowl of Japanese rice crackers or arare sold at the Tea House.
Sources: Erik Hagiwara-Nagata, Gary Ono, Carol Murata