Top 20 Los Angeles attractions

Japanese Garden Los Angeles

Japanese Garden Los Angeles

Visit one of L.A's most stunning gardens.

The Japanese Garden in the San Fernando Valley, is a welcome respite in the midst of busy Los Angeles. 

It was designed by renowned landscape gardener, Dr Koichi Kawana, who was responsible for for over a dozen well known Japanese gardens in America. The garden opened in 1984.

At 6.5 acres the Japanese Garden is a generous size, located next door to a water reclamation plant.  This plant irrigates the Japanese Garden, and is also responsible for providing water to 800,000 L.A. households.

Pay a small fee near the gift shop at the entrance to the Japanese Garden, then take in the splendor of this magnificent garden. The Japanese Garden Los Angeles is located at 6100 Woodley Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91406.

Check hours & admission.

10 best attractions at Japanese Garden Los Angeles

1. Set aside an hour to explore the path around the lake.

2. Find the snow viewing lantern, gifted by L.A.'s sister city, Nagoya. 

The idea behind a snow viewing lantern is that it gathers snow on its broad roof, achieving an aesthetically pleasing look.  It obviously doesn't snow in L.A., but this lantern is an important element in giving the Japanese garden authenticity.

3. Look out at Crane Island, situated at the top of the lake. 

Japanese gardens depict a fantastical miniaturized world, with beaches, mountain ranges, and islands, like Crane Island at the Japanese Garden Los Angeles. Cranes are a symbol of longevity, believed to live to a 1000 years in Japanese mythology.  

The Japanese Black Pine trees on Crane Lake have a distinctive look, with sharp needles and rough, grey bark.  They seem to do okay in this warmer climate.

4. Cross the Heavenly Floating Bridge to the tea house. 

The small pond beside the tea house, is intended for guests to cleanse their hands before entering the premises.

The tea house is a dominant feature of the Japanese Garden.  The attached Shoin Building behind it, is representative of a home that an aristocrat might have lived in during the 14th or 15th centuries. 

5. Continue to the water garden, with a cascading waterfall set amongst flowering magnolia trees. 

Each level of the water garden is supposed to represent heaven, earth and man, at the Japanese Garden Los Angeles.

6. Admire another perspective of the arched Heavenly Floating Bridge.

7. Wind your way around the path, past the tea house.

8. Enjoy a close up view of the zig-zag bridge at the Japanese Garden Los Angeles.

Zig-zag bridges are another popular feature in Japanese Gardens, designed to ward off evil spirits who can only travel in straight lines.

9. Find the weeping willow on the lake (looking a bit sparse in this photo). 

The weeping willow is a feminine presence in Japanese culture, bending and yielding to those around it.  Take the stepping stones to the willow.

10. Finish with this panoramic vista of the Japanese Garden.

Know before you go

  • Address: 6100 Woodley Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91406.   
  • Hours & admission: here (closed Fridays and Saturdays).

More Gardens in Los Angeles

Review this attraction