Thursday, September 29, 2011

Garden of Water and Fragrance

Suiho-en: View of the Shoin Building from across the lake.

In the city of Van Nuys, there is a gorgeous Japanese garden, Suiho-en, the Garden of Water and Fragrance. It often baffles Angelenos as to why such a lovely place is hidden away in The Valley. For some curious reason, when the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant was planned, it included plans for a Japanese Garden. That's a peculiar conceptual combination, but it turned out to be an excellent idea. The esteemed garden designer, Koichi Kawana, created this lovely enclave of tranquility.

Southern California has many Japanese gardens, but I think this is my favorite. It's almost definitely the biggest. There are events held throughout the year, such as the origami convention that occurs in October.

In any case, a stroll through the garden is a relaxing experience. In theory, I prefer flower gardens, but, in practice, I always have a peaceful state of mind after walking around the lake.

Suiho-en: Karesansui, the dry garden

Although there are two odd things of note when visiting the garden. Because it is part of the Water Reclamation Plant, there is a security check point when entering the parking lot. I suppose they are worried that somebody might try to disrupt the Los Angeles water supply. Second, because it is adjacent to the reclamation facilities, on hot and muggy days there is occasionally an unpleasant scent in certain parts of the garden. In fact, if you have an interest, you can go up to the observation deck to look upon the water reclamation process. Personally, I don't have such an interest. ;-)

Here are a few more photos of my visit to Suiho-en.

Suiho-en: Kasuga Stone Lanterns

Suiho-en: Three Level Waterfall representing Heaven, Man, and Earth.

Suiho-en: Shoin Building

Suiho-en: Bridge

Suiho-en: Daikoku Stone Lantern

It's a lovely place. Here's a vid showing the garden:

And we can't pass up on the opportunity to enjoy some koto music. ;-)