A Japanese Garden Hidden Behind LA’s Dodger Stadium

April 9, 2015 by

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Who knew? I grew up in Los Angeles, went to many baseball games, but never knew that there was a Japanese garden hidden behind Dodger Stadium.

Yep, the story goes that back in 1962 when the ballpark opened, the team invited Japanese sportswriter, Sotaro Suzuki, to the dedication ceremonies. To commemorate the stadium’s opening, Suzuki commissioned a 10-foot tall, 3,921-pound stone lantern which, in 1965, became the centerpiece of a traditional Japanese garden created on a hill near Parking Lot 6, just beyond the Right Field Pavilion.

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“Suzuki was a bridge-builder between Japan, the U.S. and Major League Baseball,” commented former Dodgers owner and chairman, Frank McCourt. “The lantern contains a light, and the light is a symbol of our enduring relationship with the people of Japan and, of course, the game of baseball brings us all together.”

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Former Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley is said to have visited the garden regularly and brought plants and trees for it from the team’s former spring training home in Vero Beach, Florida.

omally-alsten-in-stadium-japanese-garden-1956Former Dodger manager, Walter Alston and former Dodger president, Walter O’Malley reflect on the 1956 National League Pennant and the club’s exhibition tour in the Japanese garden.

For many years, groundskeepers maintained the garden which, along with the Suzuki lantern, had two cherry blossom trees, a bridge, and river-rock paths winding through it. Although it was rededicated in 2003, the garden has since suffered from neglect and is now gated off. But Suzuki’s lantern still stands where once there was a garden…going, going, gone.

h/t Thrillist. Photos via walteromally.com

1 Comment »

  1. Untoldexpressions said:

    So sad to let it go to neglect.

    — April 10, 2015 @ 10:33

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