Japanese Garden Centennial Tour

The Huntington

Zerve Seller: Huntington
Activity #4458
  • Learn how the Huntingtons turned a San Marino Ranch into a world famous cultural landmark with world renowned art galleries & gardens.

  • Experience Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, where nature's artistry and the spirit of poetry bloom in harmony!

  • Explore the history and architecture of the Huntington Estate before sitting down to enjoy an English tea complete with scones and jam.

Available Dates & Times Price Duration
All times listed are Pacific time zone


Discover the history and beauty of The Huntington's Japanese Garden on this walking tour of one of the oldest and most elaborate gardens of its kind in America.

After a year-long closure and a $6.8 million renovation, the historic Japanese Garden reopened in April 2012, marking its centennial as one of the most beloved and iconic landscapes at The Huntington. Completed in 1912, the nine-acre site, with its picture-postcard views of koi-filled ponds, distinctive moon bridge, and historic Japanese House, has attracted more than 20 million visitors since the institution opened to the public in 1928.

On this 90 minute walking tour, guests will discover this 100-year-old landmark.  The tour actually begins in The Huntington's Chinese garden, known as the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, to enjoy a rare opportunity to compare and contrast the rich legacies of Chinese and Japanese garden design. Docents will then help guests explore the amazing elements of the garden including:
  • Lush green canyons
  • Whispering bamboo
  • Canyon streams & waterfalls
  • Bonsai
  • A karasansui rock garden
  • The new ceremonial teahouse and tea garden
“The Japanese Garden is arguably the most popular spot at The Huntington,” says James Folsom, the Telleen/Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens. “It is a garden that functions on multiple levels at once. It’s a magical place, intimate and inspiring, yet at the same time it teaches us about Japan’s unique landscape traditions, craftsmanship, horticulture, and rituals.”

What Is Not Included?

General admission to The Huntington is included with your tour ticket as well as any other free exhibits.  Any exhibits or events on the day of the tour which include a separate paid ticket are not included.

Meeting Location

Allen Avenue Gate at Orlando Road (San Marino, CA) (Exact meeting location details will be provided immediately upon purchase of tickets.)


Do I need to buy tickets in advance?
Advance purchase is required for tours, as space is limited and it is not possible to walk up and purchase tickets. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets can be purchased using a Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit cards.
Are there any age limits? Can we bring our kids?
Yes, children ages 5 and up are welcome to attend the tour and we do offer reduced price tickets for children ages 5-11. However, we don't recommend these tours for children under 5 years old. These tours are geared toward an adult audience and occur in the morning prior to our normal public hours, therefore all participants are required to stay with the docent during non-public hours. We recommend families with small children consider visiting during our normal public hours.
What about rainy weather?
These tours go ahead rain or shine; however, in sunny Southern California this is rarely an issue. Please note that the entire tour will take place outdoors in the gardens, so if it looks like there is rain in the forecast, please dress appropriately and remember to bring your umbrella.
How long is the tour?
Guided tours of the Japanese Garden are approximately 90 minutes long. Guests are also encouraged to continue to explore the gardens and art and library galleries of The Huntington after their tour is over.
How much walking is involved?
This tour includes moderate walking and some slight elevations. We avoid stairs whenever that is an impediment to any guests. Please note that some of the paths are uneven or unpaved in places. There are no places to sit while on the tour, so please be sure to sure to wear comfortable shoes for walking as we will be on our feet for the entire time.
What is the difference between this tour and the free garden tours?
Free tours of the gardens are available intermittently during public hours, but the tour schedule varies and is dependent on docent availability on the day of the tour. Unlike the free tours, these guided tours can be booked in advance, are guaranteed to run, and focus on specific areas of the gardens. In addition, these tours occur during pre-public hours and include admission, so all Premier Tour guests get an extended day to explore The Huntington.
Can we continue to explore after the tour is over?
Absolutely! Your ticket price includes general admission and guests are encouraged to continue to explore other areas of The Huntington after their tour. In addition to some of our other gardens, guests can discover the art galleries, special exhibitions, and the Library exhibition hall.
What should I wear? What should I bring?
We suggest wearing comfortable walking shoes as we will be on our feet for the majority of the tour. Since the tour does take place rain or shine, we recommend dressing appropriately for the day's weather and bringing an umbrella if there is rain in the forecast.
Is The Huntington handicap accessible?
All buildings and most garden areas at The Huntington are accessible to visitors with mobility impairments. A limited number of non-motorized wheelchairs are available for loan. Visitors are urged to reserve one in advance of your visit by calling 626-405-2125 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Unreserved wheelchairs may be available on a first-come, first-served basis near the ticket kiosk area. Mobility impaired visitors are welcome to bring their own motorized scooters, wheelchairs, or Segways.
Is The Huntington open all year round?
Yes, we are open to the public all year round. Please note The Huntington is closed on Tuesdays as well as major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Independence Day. In addition, The Huntington observes extended summer hours between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Do you have a gift shop?
Yes, The Huntington Store offers a stunning collection of books and gifts including unique merchandise that relates to and reflects the varied exhibits and collections. Purchases from the Bookstore provide financial support The Huntington and its programs.
Can I bring food and drinks? Are they available for purchase?
Outside food and picnicking is not permitted on the grounds. Dining is available in our 2 cafés or the Rose Garden Tea Room. There is also a coffee cart at the Entrance.
Is there parking available?
Yes, parking is free at The Huntington, and parking reservations are not necessary for this tour unless you are arriving by bus. Note that The Huntington has two entrance gates, one on Oxford Road, and the main entrance at Allen Avenue and Orlando Road, just south of California Boulevard. Due to a long-term construction project the Oxford Gate is closed intermittently; we recommend guests enter through the Allen gate and follow signs to available parking.
Are pets allowed to come?
Pets are not permitted at The Huntington, with the exception of service animals.
Do you offer gift certificates?
No, not at this time. But if you are interested in purchasing Admission Tickets only, please click on the "Contact Huntington" link on the left side of the page.
Are private group tours available?
Yes, Estate Tours and special garden tours are available for groups of 10 or more. “Tea & Tours” may be booked for groups of 4 or more. Please note reservations are required at least one month in advance. If you are interested in booking a private Group Tour please click on the "Contact Huntington" link on the left side of the page.
Can I set up a field trip for a school group?
The Huntington offers docent-led programs during non-public, morning hours for K-12 school field trips. Self-guided school visits are welcome during regular public hours but must pay admission. Please click on the "Contact Huntington" link to make arrangements.
Do you allow photography?
Informal "vacation style" picture taking is permitted throughout the institution. No flash photography or tripods/monopods are permitted in the buildings, although tripods and monopods may be used in the gardens. Additional photographic equipment is prohibited (lights, reflectors, changes of clothing, costumes, models, props), except under commercial contract.
Is The Huntington available for portrait sessions, photo shoots or filming?
The Huntington is available for portrait sessions (including engagement and wedding) and other family photography but it must be scheduled in advance, and location fees, city permits and other restrictions apply. For more information, to book a session, or to discuss commercial filming or photography, visit our website and follow the prompts under “Visit”.
Is The Huntington available for weddings?
Yes, the estate is available as a wedding location. Please check our website for more information and have your wedding planner contact us directly for more information.


The Huntington

The Botanical Gardens are an ever-changing exhibition of color and a constant delight. Covering 120 acres, more than a dozen specialized gardens feature exotic plants from around the world. Among the most remarkable are the Desert Garden, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and the Chinese Garden called Garden of Flowing Fragrance, Liu Fang Yuan, which opened in 2008.  Designed to evoke Scholar Gardens of Suzhou, China, this 4 acre garden includes 7 tile roofed pavilions, stone bridges, and a lakeside café.  Children and adults alike will delight in the Helen and Peter Bing Children’s Garden and The Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science. The Conservatory provides children and families with exhibits designed to capture the imagination, engage the senses and teach the fundamentals of botany
The Huntington Art Gallery is in the original Huntington home, completed in 1911. The Beaux Arts mansion evokes the “Gilded Age” lifestyle of the Huntingtons, and displays the institution’s European art collections, including the famous Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough, Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence, Madonna and Child by Rogier van der Weyden, and Louis XIV furniture and carpets.  The Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art offer a rich variety of 17th to 20th century art comprised of paintings, sculptures, furniture, and decorative arts.  
The Library Exhibitions include “Beautiful Science” and “Remarkable Works/Remarkable Times”.  Highlights include a Gutenberg Bible, an illuminated manuscript of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and a Shakespeare First Folio. Throughout the year, special exhibitions highlight art and library treasures from our collections.
Please call Zerve at
1 (800) 979-3370
to get more information or
book this activity now
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