The most beautiful Japanese gardens in L.A.

Find zen in these delicately arranged and beautifully manicured Japanese gardens all around Los Angeles
Huntington Library
Photograph: Michael Juliano
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Among L.A.’s many beautiful botanical gardens, none are quite as tranquil as Japanese gardens. Though they vary in size, most share a few features: koi ponds, arched bridges and traditional teahouses. From a Little Tokyo rooftop to a Pasadena-area museum, these are the most beautiful Japanese gardens in Los Angeles.

The 8 most beautiful Japanese gardens in L.A.

1
Huntington Library
Photograph: Courtesy the Huntington Library
Things to do, Event spaces

Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

icon-location-pin San Marino

You’ll find cultural glories inside the library’s impressive book collection, but the Huntington’s highlights are outdoors in its vast jigsaw of botanical gardens. The acres and acres of historic gardens are divided into a variety of themes, most notably its serene Japanese garden and bamboo forest. Highlights include a traditional five-room house, a ceremonial teahouse and a bonsai and zen court.

2
Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden
Photograph: Courtesy Vergil Hettick
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

icon-location-pin Long Beach

Take a stroll around the serene central pond at this 1.3-acre garden on the Cal State Long Beach campus. The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden hosts lectures, screenings, workshops and an annual origami festival. Dedicated in April 1981, the garden was a gift from Loraine Miller Collins in memory of her late husband, Earl Burns Miller.

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3
Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden
Photograph: Courtesy Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

icon-location-pin Pasadena

This nearly two-acre private Japanese garden and traditional teahouse opens its doors to the public a few days each week. First constructed in the late 1930s, the garden features two ponds, four bridges and a cascading waterfall, all centered around a Japanese tea house. The current structure was painstakingly restored after a fire in 1981; the original was created in Japan by landscape designer and craftsman Kinzuchi Fujii.

4
The Japanese Garden.
Photograph: Courtesy the Japanese Garden
Things to do

The Japanese Garden

icon-location-pin Van Nuys

This appropriately titled Japanese garden sits just across from the Sepulveda Basin on the border of Van Nuys. The stony bridges and footpaths wind along a central pond, flanked by rockwork, manicured trees and tea houses. Of course, this wouldn’t be the Valley without a bit of an industrial edge—the garden is irrigated by the adjacent Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant.

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5
James Irvine Japanese Garden
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Things to do, Cultural centers

James Irvine Japanese Garden

icon-location-pin Little Tokyo

This tranquil garden is one of Little Tokyo’s best-kept secrets as the urban oasis isn’t accessible from the street. To reach the space, enter the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, check in at the information window on the left, take the elevator down to level B and zigzag to your right through an unembellished hallway. It’s an ideal setting to while away a few minutes far from the hustle and bustle of the city.

6
Japanese garden at Descanso Gardens.
Photograph: John Stanley, courtesy Descanso Gardens
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Descanso Gardens

icon-location-pin La Cañada

This delightful tribute to the horticultural magic of Southern California includes more than 600 varieties of camellia—during summer, there’s even an open-air lounge dedicated to the flower in the Japanese garden. Cross over the arched bridge and a koi-filled stream and you’ll find a tea house donated by the Japanese-American community.

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8
South Coast Botanic Garden
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Daniel W
Attractions, Parks and gardens

South Coast Botanic Garden

icon-location-pin Rancho Palos Verdes/Rolling Hills Estates

This South Bay botanic garden covers 87 acres on the northeast side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. You’ll find a small koi pond with cascading waterfalls and pagoda lanterns just inside the garden’s entrance. It may not be as grandiose as some other gardens, but it’s well worth the price of admission.

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