The futuristic wastewater treatment plant that turns LA’s turds into one of the ten best public Japanese gardens in North America.
The Japanese Garden SuihoEn (The Garden of Water and Fragrance”) at the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant was part of Mr. Tillman’s vision to create a world class treatment plant that would not only treat wastewater but also provide a sanctuary where the public could enjoy the peaceful surroundings while learning about water reclamation.
The Garden entry was designed to permit no more than two people to enter together in order to encourage courtesy and to allow the viewing of only a small portion of The Garden.
The 6.5 acre garden was designed by world-famous designer Dr. Koichi Kawara and dedicated in 1984.
If this building looks familiar to you, there’s good reason—it’s been featured in the movies Rising Sun, Memoirs of a Geisha, Bio-Dome, Dead Heat, and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, and in episodes of Charmed, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Alias, Numb3rs, and Knight Rider. The reclamation plant’s futuristic administration building is the garden’s most well-known feature thanks to its appearance as Starfleet Academy in several Star Trek productions, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
The garden is irrigated with effluent from Tillman, and the 2.75 acre lake is filled with the plant’s treated water.
Dreamy not steamy.
The sprawling 6.5-acre property has three gardens—a Zen mediation garden, a “wet” garden, and a tea garden complete with an authentic Japanese tea house serving tea and almond cookies. The beautiful site features waterfalls, streams, winding pathways, a floating bridge, lakes, and countless picturesque vistas.
A lantern in a Japanese Garden is primarily for decoration and is generally only placed where light is needed.
Snow Viewing Lantern YukimiDoro – This type of lantern was Dr. Kawana’s favorite. The large top on it is to collect snow. It is something beautiful to look at during all four seasons of the year. The Japanese call snowflakes SeEka the snow flowers of winter, the snowflakes being the flower petals on the trees and shrubbery.
More formally called Suiho-en (the Garden of Water and Fragrance), the garden combines three types of gardens in one: the dry garden, a stroll garden, which includes lakes, streams and carved stone lanterns gifted by Los Angeles’ sister city, Nagoya; and a tea garden that sits beside a Japanese-style residence.
Garden hours are M-Th 11am-4pm and Sun 10am – 4pm
Final Admittance is at 3:15pm
Admission is $5 for Adults and $3 for Seniors 62+ and Children 12 and under
No Food allowed in the Garden, Water ONLY
Garden may briefly close if capacity is reached
Garden may close due to inclement weather please call ahead to check
CLOSED ON ALL CITY OF LOS ANGELES HOLIDAYS