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Hakone Estate and Gardens is an 18 acre garden that incorporates stroll, hill and pond, tea garden, and karesansui 枯山水 on a beautiful hillside in Saratoga hills. It is also home to a bamboo garden and replica of a Kyoto Tea Merchant’s House, where exhibits and cultural programs can be held.
Hakone Japanese Garden is a Hill and Pond Garden designed for strolling paths set around a small lake. The view includes a waterfall and hillside stream flowing past the beautiful tea house and down through the rest of the garden.
There is a karesansui that can be contemplated from a viewpoint area, a tea garden, bamboo garden, a hermit cabin, arbors and many other features to be enjoyed in this garden.
Kiyoshi Yasui, revered Japanese architect from the Kyoto area in Japan and known for his skill in mortis and tenon construction without nails, and Saratoga’s Sister City architects, jointly designed a cultural center for Hakone. It was constructed in Japan and shipped to Hakone, where it was re-assembled by Japanese carpenters. The Cultural Exchange Center (CEC) building is a replica of a Kyoto Tea Merchant’s House. The Saratoga Bamboo Society was formed by Kiyoshi Yasui, Tanso Ishihara, Jack Tomlinson, Bruce Parkinson, Stewart Lenox, Syd Dunton, and Jim Marshall to promote a bamboo garden section within Hakone. The Sister City members helped fund the bamboo garden as well as the Sister City Friendship Garden. For more information on Kiyoshi Yasui, see About Kiyoshi Yasui 安井清.
Mrs. Oliver Stine, creator of the garden, was so taken by Eastern concepts and the beauty of Japanese gardens during the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, she decided to create a summer retreat in the Japanese style. She traveled to Japan and chose Hakone for the name of her garden.
The Stines purchased seventeen acres of land in Saratoga in 1915, and commissioned Naoharu Aihara, who was from a long line of imperial gardeners from Koyobashi Tokyo, to design and begin building Hakone in 1917. Architect Tsunematsu Shintani designed and constructed the private residence, Moon Viewing Upper House, Lower House and the koi pond.
The City of Saratoga purchased Hakone Gardens in 1966 to create a public garden. The first Hakone Foundation was created and it raised the funds to build a cultural center building in 1990. It was jointly designed by Kiyoshi Yasui in Japan, and Saratoga’s Sister City architects; built in Japan and assembled at Hakone by traditional Japanese carpenters. The Cultural Exchange Center (CEC) building is a replica of a Kyoto Tea Merchant’s House, where exhibits and cultural programs can be held.