Historic Japanese-Inspired Estate for Sale in San Mateo

Paging Larry Ellison: Have we got the place for you. Behold the Japanese-style gem complete with teahouse and gardens on the market in San Mateo, CA.

"He would appreciate everything that's gone into the property," co-listing agent Phyllis Weiner says of the billionaire businessman known for his interest in Japanese-inspired homes.

"It's a gorgeous, gorgeous property," she adds. At almost $5 million, it's also pricey, and involves a lot of upkeep. Prepare to keep on the full-time gardeners who tend to the magical gardens and pond on the estate.

The lush landscape dates to the 1890s. "It started out as a garden and a teahouse, not a residence," the agent says.

The serene spot was designed by Makoto Hagiwara, the landscape designer of the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

The glorious green space was the site of many parties and events around the turn of the 20th century. In the early 1900s, the gardens became part of the nearby estate owned by the industrialist Eugene de Sabla.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the gardens and teahouse are significant as "an early expression of the influence of Japanese culture on the development of Californian design at the beginning of the 20th century," according to the National Park Service.

The gardens feature 100-year-old sculptures and lava rock, an almost 100,000-gallon lagoon filled with colorful schools of koi, stone paths, and 500 species of plants, including native oaks, bay laurels, Japanese maples, a weeping Himalayan spruce, and a rare, 200-year-old five-needle Mikado pine -- apparently a gift from the emperor of Japan.

A plaque calls the gardens "worthy of a day's contemplation." No kidding. You can also contemplate the home on the property.

In the 1940s, a 3,100-square-foot Craftsman-style home also built by Japanese artisans was added on to the teahouse. "They built the residence around the gardens," Weiner says.

You enter the home through the original front gates. The teahouse is now the dining room with a wall panel that opens to the gardens and pond. The three-bedroom home also includes a guesthouse, an updated kitchen and bathrooms, and a formal living room with walls of windows, high ceilings, and exposed wooden beams.

The home and landscape have been meticulously maintained over the years by the sellers, who purchased the property in 1988.

They're older now and "don't want the maintenance and upkeep. It's a big responsibility," Weiner says. How big? Perhaps Larry Ellison big…