Ojai is a city in Ventura County in the U.S. state of California. Located in the Ojai Valley, it is northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara. The valley is about 10 miles long by 3 miles wide, surrounded by hills and mountains. The population was 7,461 at the 2010 census, down from 7,862 at the 2000 census.
Ojai is a tourism destination known for its boutique hotels, recreation opportunities, hiking, spiritual retreats and farmers' market of local organic agriculture. It also has small businesses specializing in local and ecologically friendly art, design, and home improvement—such as galleries and a solar power company. Chain stores are prohibited by Ojai city law to encourage local small business development and keep the town unique.
The origin of the name Ojai has historically been known as derived from a Native American word meaning nest. The city's self-styled nickname is "Shangri-La" referencing the natural environment of this health and spirituality-focused region as well as the mystical sanctuary of 1937 film adaption of James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon.