Japanese Friendship Garden | San Diego

Escaping the busy streets of San Diego without going out of the city is actually possible. Aside from Old Town and beaches, there is a hidden gem where you can find peace with its cool ambiance and natural setting of lush greenery. If you are planning to go on a trip to San Diego, this is one of the attractions you should pay a visit. This place is known as the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

Whether you are a tourist or a local, the Japanese Friendship Garden is worthy of your time. Perhaps you’d rather visit the garden or simply take a leisurely walk around the area. You can easily spend a few hours wandering around its natural beauty. Apart from its colorful orchard, there are beautifully designed structures and bridges to showcase the Japanese culture. To better relate to it, there is a museum inside and if you know me, you definitely know how much I love museums!

The Japanese Friendship Garden, or San-Kei-En in Japanese, is a botanical garden built as an expression of mutual friendship and reverence between the city of San Diego and the city of Yokohama in Japan. Although it is a small garden inside Balboa Park, its vivacity has attracted a lot of guests for a pleasant stroll while becoming appreciative of the beauty of its grounds. The stone arrangements, cherry blossom trees and other various flowers can be seen along a flowing waterfall to provide a fresh atmosphere.

To escape from the heat or crowd in San Diego, you can pay the $10 entrance fee to visit this lovely garden.  There are many little corners and quiet shades for you to take in a delightfuly green space. Of course, you can expect to see displays of intriguing Japanese artifacts and some charming Bonsai Trees along the way. Bonsai trees are not ordinary trees but rather, are miniature trees created by Japanese in a modish way! Japanese have combined their passion for arts and their love for nature as manifested by their cultural touch with Bonsai Trees.

Although the garden itself is already pleasant to visit at any time of the year, the best season will absolutely be Spring as the lower section will be vibrant with blooming cherry blossoms and other kinds of beautiful flowers. You can also admire the tranquil stream of water and fascinating koi pond.

If you want to make your visit more special, visit the Japanese Friendship Garden in the first week of March which marks the date of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  Around 200 Pink Cloud cherry trees will bloom for about 2 weeks. There would be several vendors selling souvenirs and snacks, musicians playing traditional songs and various entertainment for you to enjoy. I love seeing the delicate pink flowers against the white clouds. What a lovely backdrop!

There’s something about the garden that is so peaceful. From pots of bonsai trees to school of koi fish, Japanese Friendship Garden is a great place to take photos and see a different side of San Diego. This place is enchanting especially if you’re easily impressed by nature. I highly appreciated the serenity and careful curation of all living things in this garden along with its meticulous and clean grounds. As for me, the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is more than just a garden but a beautiful work of living art. If you love pretty things, enjoy silence and would like to be relieved from the stress, this place is a must-visit for you!

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