What a very special place! Again, we are so blessed in California. So many magical places tucked away on hillsides and down country lanes. Hakone Estate & Gardens -- on the outskirts of Saratoga, California -- is just such a place.
Come and relax. Enjoy the musical waterfalls and the joy Mother Nature at her finest. Buddhist and Zen influences are everywhere. Every season presents something new. Delicate maples show their best fall colors. Winter brings a wall of camellias. An ever-changing landscape. The oldest Japanese and Asian estate garden in the Western Hemisphere, it is also a Save America's Treasures site, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Hakone Estate & Gardens was also the film location for Memoirs of a Geisha
More than 18 acres, visitors are invited to stroll in the gardens and meditate on benches overlooking the koi pond or bamboo forest. An ideal location for meetings and weddings, Hakone also orchestrates a variety of special events including tea ceremonies and Maturi (Spring Festival).
Hakone was on my radar and the ever-expanding "bucket list" of California must sees. Had I known just how magical a place this is, I would have crossed it off long ago! Move Hakone at the top of your list! At the edge of the village of Saratoga, the approach to Hakone is an incredibly steep, paved drive. Don't be deterred.
You must sometimes climb a mountain to reach the stars.