Stop looking for a hidden Japanese garden in the heart of Pasadena. The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden is a peaceful retreat from the city excitement. It is a small garden (I was surprised myself), roughly two-acres, but perfect for a Zen-like retreat.
In 1935, Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns fell in love with Japanese gardens after a trip in Japan. Back in their mansion in Pasadena, they decided to transform the tennis court area into a garden. They hired Kinzuchi Fujii who designated and created it.
Kinzuchi Fujii was a carpenter when he came to San Francisco in 1903. He previously built small gardens in Ojai and Santa Barbara and he considered the Storrier Stearns Garden his masterpiece.
The garden construction started in 1937. It was almost done when, in 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor propelled the United States into World War II. As a consequence Kinzuchi Fujii was sent to an internment camp and the garden was finalized without his supervision.
The original Tea House was built in Japan and assembled in Pasadena. What a serene place to drink tea.
Mr. Storrier Stearns died in 1950 and his estate was subdivided and sold at auction. From there, the garden has been neglected and the teahouse had burned down. Since then, the garden has been restored. In 2005 the garden entered into the National Register of Historic Places which is “the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.”
Sound like it’s worth a visit?
- Address: 270 Arlington Dr, Pasadena, CA 91105
- Hours: 10am to 4pm every Thursday and the last Sunday of each month.
- Parking: on-site parking, otherwise street parking will be easy.
- Price: $10 per person. Check Groupon 😉
- Website: http://www.japanesegardenpasadena.com/
- Duration: between 30 minutes and 2 hours