Licensing

This garden is located at the Sierra Madre Elementary School, at 160 North Canon Avenue.

The garden is not open for public viewing, so if you would like to arrange a visit, please call in advance. If you are on campus, stop by the visitor's office first for assistance.
There is no entrance fee.

You can contact the school at 626.836.2947

The following information was given by Ms. Helen Pontarelli, a sixth grade teacher at Sierra Madre Elementary School who was kind enough to speak to us about the history of the garden.

The original Japanese garden was built in 1931 by the parents of Japanese American students. However, it was vandalized and abandoned after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The sixth grade class of 1995 read about Sierra Madre history and discovered an article in the Los Angeles Times documenting a garden at their school. Upon this discovery, they decided to restore it, and underwent massive fundraising and labor to do so. The students held car washes, bake sales, wrote letters, and sold origami cranes to fund the reconstruction. They also performed physical labor in digging the bridge out of the mud and excavated the garden.

A Japanese-American community member, Mr. Lew Watanabe, became integral to the project. As a gardener who headed his own landscaping business, Mr. Watanabe designed the new garden and led the reconstruction.

Through sales and donations, students were able to raise enough money to rebuild the garden. On Sunday, February 4th, 1995, the Japanese Garden was officially dedicated. The ceremony included 17 members of the class of 1931 and their teacher. The dedication ceremony included taiko drumming, dancing, and a karate demonstration.

The garden was named a Garden of Goodwill.


This work is licensed under a Public Domain

rmiletich — Last modified Mar 30 2011 8:00 p.m.


Login or register
to contribute to the Nikkei Album

Welcome to the NEW Nikkei Album!

We've launched Nikkei Album in beta, so everyone can now start uploading and creating their own albums. There may be things that don't work quite right yet. Please email us to report any errors.

Browse the Nikkei Album

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation