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Wednesday, January 31, 2018


San Diego's Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.                                                                                        PillartoPost image by Phyllis Shess

The Japanese Friendship Garden (“the Garden”) is an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city, Yokohama. It illustrates two cultures and creates an immersive experience into Japanese culture.  It is located in San Diego's beautiful public garden called Balboa Park.

The Garden’s design is based on centuries-old Japanese techniques adapted to San Diego’s climate and florae and seeks to foster a relationship between humans and nature, providing a respite attuned to Japanese simplicity, serenity, and aestheticism.

The Garden sits on 12 acres. It offers a variety of educational programs, exhibits, and festivals as well as accredited horticultural classes to enhance and deepen visitor appreciation for Japanese culture. As a valued community resource, it is well known for its unique setting, stone arrangements, koi ponds, water features, sukiya-style buildings and landscape.

The Japanese Friendship Garden was first opened in 1991. The second phase, opened in 1999, was designed by renowed landscape architect Takeo Uesugi. This phase added the Exhibit Hall, Activity Center, and Koi Pond. The third phase, completed in 2015, comprised 9 additional acres which included a 200 cherry tree grove, large azalea and camellia garden, a water feature reminiscent of the San Diego watershed, and the state of the art Inamori Pavilion.

Today, about 100,000 individuals from all over United States and around the world visit the Japanese Friendship Garden annually. The Garden is a gift to the citizens of San Diego intended to provide the community with educational programs to foster better understanding of Japanese culture. Garden founders are thankful to the citizens of San Diego who have helped in throughout its development to promote continued friendship among diverse cultures.

The Japanese Friendship Garden is a member of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, a collaboration of 26 arts, science, and culture institutions in Balboa Park.

To learn more about the many ways this collaboration makes the Park a better place to visit, learn, and have fun, please visit the Partnership’s website at



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