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. 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 a 12-acre plot. 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, the Japanese Friendship Garden is visited annually by close to 100,000 people from all over United States and around the world. The Garden is our gift to the citizens of San Diego as we continue to provide the community with educational programs to foster better understanding of Japanese culture. We are thankful to the citizens of San Diego who have helped in throughout our development. We feel it is our responsibility to build upon this legacy and continue to promote 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. By working together we produce major outcomes that no single organization could achieve alone. Benefits of our Partnership include:
-Collective cost savings of $800,000 annually
-Improved organizational performance and creation of new resources (knowledge, innovation, and networks)
-New financial resources–since 2008 the Partnership has brought $4.2 million in new revenue to Balboa Park
-Improved public accessibility and safety through capital improvements and ADA upgrades
-Reduction of Balboa Park’s carbon footprint by 5.4 million kWhs and 91,000 therms annually, the equivalent of 110 homes.
-Training of more than four thousand Park staff and volunteers to improve professional practice and visitor experience.
From intimate wedding ceremonies to elegant receptions, the Japanese Friendship Garden is the perfect setting for any celebration! Tucked away in the heart of San Diego's historic Balboa Park, the Japanese Friendship Garden is a truly beautiful venue. The lush trees and tall bamboo provide a uniquely intimate and unforgettable venue for weddings, private parties, corporate receptions, proms, and more. The Japanese Friendship garden features winding pathways and authentic Japanese garden features, including koi ponds, waterfalls, bonsai, cherry trees and wisteria arbors. The site is divided into two primary sections, each with distinct areas to create beautiful settings for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and receptions.
Upper Garden Venue
The Upper Garden is filled with luscious green scenery and is a unique setting for an outdoor event under the starry night sky. The natural beauty surround you and your guests and doesn't call for much decor at all, just throw in a little atmospheric light and you've got an amazingly beautiful setting for any occasion.
The Upper Garden areas include:
-Koi Pond & Moon Viewing Deck
-Activity Room (Bridal Prep Room/Green Room)
-Two single stalled bathrooms (gender neutral / handicap accessible) and an additional restroom in the Activity Room
Lower Garden Venues
Our impressive Lower Garden is the perfect setting for any event with both indoor and outdoors areas. Clients and guests will have access to Lower Garden areas such as:
-The Inamori Pavilion
-Pavilion Viewing Deck
-Garden Paths & Earth Bridge
-Bridal Room / Green Room
-Multiple Stalled Restrooms
Contact: Sales + Catering
(619) 232 - 2780