A Little Slice of Paradise

There is something beautiful at CSULB.  Something just beyond the parking lots and right behind the dorms.  It’s the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden.  How many other universities can boast of having their own Japanese garden?  Almost none.  Which is why I’m still surprised when students bring it up and then say they have no idea where it is.  It’s also why I love being a geographer.   There is a map for that.

Map of CSULB with the Japanese Garden circled in black.

Map of CSULB with the Japanese Garden circled in black.

Now that you know where it is, here is a quick rundown of why you should visit it.1. It’s beautiful and peaceful.

2. It’s free and open to the public.

3. It has koi fish and various other animals.  (You can feed and pet the koi.)

4. They have numerous events, many open to the public.

5.  They host weddings.

The thing I love the most about the garden (besides watching the fish) is taking pictures of it.  The garden has three sections: the Hill and Pond garden, the Teahouse garden and the Dry garden.  The Hill and Pond garden comprises the largest section and features two waterfalls and two bridges.

One of the bridges is built in a zig-zag style because of the Japanese belief that spirits can’t follow you across.  The spirits can only walk in straight lines thus will fall into the water.

The Teahouse and Dry gardens sit at the back in their own private spots.  The Dry garden is a great place to lie in the sun while the Teahouse offers some shade.  There are also many little statues placed throughout the garden.

The koi themselves are unique and beautiful each with a different coloring and pattern, a mix of orange, blue, white and black.  The babies can be as small as your pinkie finger while the largest adult is several feet in length.  I fondly call him “the Great White”.  There are also turtles, ducks and large birds.

There is a small information desk with personnel who can tell you even more about the garden.  The next event will be the Green Generation, displaying various environmental projects by students and the Long Beach community.  This event is free and will be held on April 18th from 5 to 8 pm.


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