2019 / Santa Barbara’s world-famous Lotusland reopens Japanese Garden

Torii Gathering at the Japanese Garden, Lotusland, Santa Barbara. (Courtesy of Lotusland)

Ganna Walska Lotusland in Santa Barbara reopens the Japanese Garden on June 15 to the public after the $6 million renovation project which began in February 2017.

The extensive renovation project honors the original 1960s garden and viison of Ganna Walska, founder of Lotusland, and Frank Fujii.

Lotusland’s Japanese Garden is reminiscent of an authentic Japanese strolling garden with its large central pond, using the design technique called shakei, to “borrow” a view or element of the larger landscape and incorporate it into the garden.

The view of Montecito Peak framed by the Torii Gate is a perfect example. In addition, look for the many “hide and reveal” opportunities that are a cornerstone of the Japanese garden design aesthetic.

In his book A Secret of Japanese gardens. Takuma Tono writes “Gardens are intended to break the connection with the outside world… and to produce a fresh sensation conductive to full enjoyment of aestheticism of Nature.”

Visitors will experience a greater connection to the nature while they leave the chaotic world behind and enter, through the Torii, into a sacred, peaceful and tranquil place.


Because Lotusland is a public garden operating in a private, residential neighborhood, advance tour reservations are required to visit – call (805) 969-9990.

Visitors tour the gardens in groups of approximately 10, led by knowledgeable docents.

Guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday through Saturday
February 16 through November 15

Adults: $50; ages 3 to 17, $25; 2 and under, free. Group tours available. Admission fees are non-refundable.

A series of gardens, with subtropical and tropical plants from around the world, draws the visitor from surprise to surprise on the two-hour docent-guided walking tour.

The tour includes both horticultural and historical information. There will be time to visit the Garden Shop at the end of the tour.

Ganna Walska Lotusland
695 Ashley Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93108