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A Rare Pre-War Japanese Garden Hiding in Pasadena

There are many Japanese-style gardens to be found throughout the greater Los Angeles metro area, but tucked away in a quiet neighborhood of Pasadena, the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden is unique. It’s a rare example of a private Japanese garden built before the outbreak of the Second World War. 

When Japan opened its doors to trade and relations with the U.S. in the beginning of the 20th century, it sparked an American fascination with Japanese aesthetics, such as Japanese gardening and design concepts. One wealthy couple living in Pasadena, Charles and Ellamae Storrier Stearns, commissioned landscape designer Kinzuchi Fujii in 1935 to create a two-acre retreat on their estate grounds, featuring a 25-foot hill with a waterfall and a tea-house crafted in Japan to his meticulous plans. 


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