Hakone Gardens

Visitor Information

Saratoga, California

Period of significance: 1918 - present

In 1916, San Fransisco arts patrons Oliver and Isabel Stine purchased 16 acres of Saratoga hillside to build a summer retreat for family and friends. Stimulated by displays at the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exhibition, Mrs. Stine traveled to Japan to gather ideas. Being especially impressed by the Fuji-Hakone National Park, she returned home to begin work on her own Hakone Gardens. In 1918, she retained architect Tsunematsu Shintani to design the Upper "Moon Viewing" House and landscape gardener Naoharu Aihara to design the gardens. In 1932, ownership passed to prominent East bay financier Major C.L. Tilden. He added the Mon (main gate) to the Gardens.

In 1966, the City of Saratoga purchased Hakone Gardens, to protect it from subdivision and development. The city hired Tanso Ishihara, Kyoto-trained landscape gardener, to begin the arduous task of restoring the Gardens. Upon Mr. Ishihara's untimely death, his student, Jack Tomlinson, took a three-month apprenticeship in Kyoto. Upon his return, he was appointed Japanese Garden Specialist and, with Mrs. Ishihara, has worked to maintain the beauty and authenticity of Hakone Gardens.

Open to the public.