Summer Series: the Japanese Garden

The Huntington Botanical Gardens Summer Series

The Japanese Garden

The Tea House and Pagodas

The 9-acre Japanese Garden was created in 1912. At this time, some World fairs – like Philadelphia’s Fair in 1876 and Chicago’s Fair in 1893 – sold the Asia culture to the West. It became fashionable to have a Japanese Garden.

Henry Huntington didn’t start buying one plant but an entire commercial tea garden, the Marsh Tea Garden located in Pasadena. It included the Tea House, varieties of plants, and stones. Then, he hired, Toichiro Kawai, a Japanese carpenter to developed it. Hence the Torii gate, the tower holding the bell, and the Moon Bridge were added.

Japanese Garden’s gateway with half-dog, half-lion statues

Did you know?

The Bonsai Garden includes an oak tree from actress Gloria Stuart (Titanic)

During your promenade, look at some traditional, aesthetics, and spiritual elements like the pair of half-dog half-lion at the entrance, the Moon Bride, the Zen Court, and the Seifu-An tea house (Arbor of Pure Breeze).

Did you know?

The wisteria and Sago Plants were planted in 1912
Sago Plants

SPOILER ALERT: A 320-years old house from the Yokoi family will be moved from Marugame (Japan) to the garden in early 2021. I’m thrilled to discover this historic and traditional residence! Stay tuned!

Ready to explore the Japanese Garden?

*COVD-19 update as of October 2020*

  1. Online reservation required (every Tuesday at noon).
  2. The gardens are open and the galleries remained closed.
  3. All visitors must respect health and safety protocols.


  • Location: The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108
  • Hours: 10am-5pm. Closed on Tuesday. Summer evening walks: 4:30 pm- 7pm.
  • Admission: $25 on weekdays and $29 on weekend for adults.
  • Duration: from 2 hours to the day
  • Parking: Free on-site lot
  • You can’t bring food inside but the Café provides dining options
  • More information available at

Article based on my visits in 2019 and 2020

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