PHOTO ESSAY--Mid-May in San Diego has produced some welcome warm and sunny days. One of these blue sky days was spent at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s amazing Balboa Park.
We went for tea and stayed for a leisurely paced self-guided tour along winding paths.
THE GARDENS. The two-acre Japanese Friendship Garden originated as a teahouse during the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition. Currently, it is undergoing a beautiful expansion, which will allow many more visitors to enjoy its many cultural and botanical facets.
Among the highlights are a Zen garden for meditation, an exhibit house, koi pond, bonsai exhibit, ceremonial gate and a Fujidana (wisteria arbor). Also, weekend classes are offered in sushi making, bonsai, calligraphy and conversational Japanese.
Garden Hours: 10 am 4 pm daily; Closed on 5th Mondays. Info: 619-232-2721.
THE TEA PAVILION. The only way to see all the treasures of Balboa Park is by foot. After a few hours, a tea break is in order. A small tea room is adjacent to the Japanese Friendship Garden with indoor outdoor seating.
Run by the same upscale Cohn management team as Prado Restaurant (nearby), the Tea Pavilion serves traditional Japanese green tea, herbal and specialty teas as well as sushi made fresh daily, Japanese noodles, rice, miso soup, salads and snacks. Imported food, beverages and gifts, as well as imported bulk teas, are available for purchase.
The Tea Pavilion is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, later during the summer months. Info: 619-231-0048. www.cohnrestaurants.com
THE PHOTOS. Photographer Phyllis Shess contributes the following images of the Japanese Friendship Garden. Images taken on May 15, 2012
using a Sprint mobile phone HTC evo 46.
Top to Lower:
1. Sekitei, the rock garden. Inspires a perfect meditation
2. Traditionally, the sound the Shi-Shi-Odoshi makes against the rock basin keeps evil spirits away. The Tsukubai (rock basin) catches the water as it spills from the Shi-Shi-Odoshi.
3. Goldqueen and her koi boys clamor for food as children feed them at the Koi Pond. The koi are called “nishikigoi in Japanese. Koi represent longevity and virility in Japan.
4. Bonsai means “tray planting” and is the art of living sculpture.
5. Elegant rain chain captures moisture and reflects the San Diego sky.