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Japanese Friendship Garden

Neighbourhood: Balboa Park
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Address: 2215 Park Blvd, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone Number:
+1 619-232-2780
10:00 - 18:00
Open now
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Sun - Sat 10:00 - 18:00
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

The Japanese Friendship Garden includes a koi pond, a meditation hall...

The Japanese Friendship Garden includes a koi pond, a meditation hall viewing a Zen garden, bonsai exhibit, fujidana (wisteria arbor), and strolling pathways down to the new garden expansion with pond and waterfall.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 176 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 45
  • 57
    Very good
  • 34
  • 10
  • 12
Nice But Expensive to Get In

Nice garden but, for $14 you don't see a whole lot. Fortunately, we had an explorer pass. The area by the stream is pretty with the trees are in bloom.

3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
Los Angeles
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176 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 158: English reviews
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
184 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Nice garden but, for $14 you don't see a whole lot. Fortunately, we had an explorer pass. The area by the stream is pretty with the trees are in bloom.

Thank peterlc63
Level Contributor
40 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Since I've been to gardens in Japan, I have a high standard. This garden was small and peaceful, but didn't compare to what I've seen. Avoid the restaurant that's near the entrance to the garden. The food was overpriced and tasteless.

Thank Abeonaadiona
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
59 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 January 2017

January in a garden - not much to see you would think - but the lovely serene Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park has wonderful walks that you amble through the winter garden. it was peaceful and alive with life growing and resting worth an amble then stop and have a hot tea at the Japanese Tea House at the... More 

Thank SDTraveler515
Ripon, California
Level Contributor
138 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 January 2017 via mobile

I enjoy gardens but this one was too boring to bring kids to. They only thing that was neat to see was the bonsai trees.

Thank wingnut457
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
268 reviews
162 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 December 2016

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park has a variety of activities -- yoga classes, koi ponds, special exhibits, a lower garden walk with birds and flora, a meditation room, and a bonzai garden. And seasonally the well groomed look changes. Currently, a blow up Christmas bear sits in front of the administrative building. The cafe is on the outside... More 

1 Thank GlobalGypsy_13
Cerritos, California
Level Contributor
510 reviews
257 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 December 2016

This is a pleasant stroll in the park. It is on a hill - so be prepared to walk down and back up. It is quiet with numerous benches. Azaleas were blooming, but not much else, given the time of the year. It is not huge, but enjoyable, We stopped at the top at their tea shop - good rice... More 

Thank Barbara F
Johnson City, New York
Level Contributor
47 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2016

I guess I was disappointed that they charged $8 for this garden and it's really not anything special. There's a bunch of bonsai trees and ornamental japanese pottery and bambooish looking things. But ehhhh I could've walked around trees and water for free in Balboa Park. It was a Saturday and it seemed very 'off season' here. It could be... More 

Thank Diane H
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
197 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2016 via mobile

Small and intimate, unfortunately the second floor pond is under construction. First floor is pretty, wish there were more sitting areas. No koi in the pond.

Thank C L
Bethesda, Maryland
Level Contributor
148 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 November 2016

Be prepared for a good walk. If you do the whole garden, it is probably close to 2 miles. I'd call this good, but not a great garden. There is a limited number of types of greenery. There are some beautiful Koi in a couple of ponds, but except for the bonsai, this garden need not be Japanese. I feel... More 

Thank BT20812
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Level Contributor
240 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 November 2016

I haven't been to many Botanical Gardens, but I did enjoy my visit here. I think the main highlight for me was the mini Bonsai Trees, they are cute neat to see. We had a pleasant time just walking around the grounds and exploring. This is a very peaceful place. Admission was $8 or included on the Balboa Explorer pass.

Thank NYCaliKara

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