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“beautiful and we look forward to returning”

Japanese Friendship Garden
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Private Tour: Balboa Park in San Diego
Ranked #92 of 434 things to do in San Diego
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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.
Lexington, Oregon
Level Contributor
85 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“beautiful and we look forward to returning”
Reviewed 3 November 2013

We went to the Japanese Friendship Garden on request of my 14 year old that is the botanical and all things Japanese enthusiast. The garden was quiet, serene, peaceful and very beautiful. As we made our way through the walk way several things caught our attention...

first, one of the caregivers of the garden...he wasn't hacking away at the tree like i do in my yard, but cautiously and purposely nipping at the tree...almost gently...if such a word would be appropriate. We stopped and watched him work, and noticed him smiling as he worked away. Then, on the (i think it was plum) plum tree, there was this beautiful perfect spider web, in a circle with the spider sitting gracefully in the middle. There's no way that this was unseen by caregivers, and we appreciated the beauty in the spiders crafting :).

Next, the Koi, they were stunning! Huge beautiful fish that seemed to come up and greet us individually and such a variety of colors!

The bonsai garden was incredible! There were little statues, and then the fountain/statue of light from the sister Yokohama city...Gorgeous!!! You had to pay attention to detail as there were little things of beauty everywhere. The gardnener that we'd been watching said "make sure you go all the way down to the bottom of the canyon" (and if you weren't told about it, you might miss it) walk through the gates and take the winding trail...or the stairs to begin the decent...Gorgeous flowers....beautiful waterfall...stone pathways and butterflies...OH THE BUTTERFLIES!!! I think we have a butterfly in every photo we took!

The waterfall (with water, not the dry artistic one) was romantic...we paused, took photos and stole a private couple moment while the kids marveled at the butterlies...then we walked around and began the climb (it's an easy walk.) We will look forward to coming again (and the herb/tea garden too!) Next time we will plan for a longer stay and see if we cannot learn more of the keeping of the garden.

Thank you for the labor of love (and sharing it with us!)

Visited October 2013
1 Thank Dawn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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196 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
San Diego, California, United States
Level Contributor
41 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego”
Reviewed 19 September 2013

I am from San Diego and have watched with anticipation that Our Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park would be finished by now, but alas, it is still being planned and constructed. Having been to a few Japanese Gardens in the past, the garden in San Diego still has a long ways to go to be able to be a tranquil setting. The Koi pond is wonderful and the Koi have grown a lot over the years. There are Bonsai plants which adds to the ambiance of this garden. The walk down the canyon is nice and the construction on the lower pond and hills is still underway.
Balboa Park is having a centinenial celebration in in few years, so hopefully the Japanese Friendship Garden will be prepared.
For an infinished garden, the price seems a little high, but the Koi pond. Bonsai and other landscaping are really nice.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Kent H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A perfect place to meditate...”
Reviewed 10 September 2013

The Japanese Garden is a perfect place to meditate and relax after a long day of walking at Balboa Park. A small fee will allowed you to enjoy this magnificent place, where you can enjoy just watching the Koi pond , a Sekitei (Rock Garden ) or just admiring the beauty of several Bonsai on display. it is not a huge place, but for sure, its worth the money paid

Visited September 2013
Thank JorgeL2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Petaluma, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Wonderful Wedding at JFG”
Reviewed 6 August 2013

Attended a wedding and reception at the Japanese Friendship Garden. The facilities are clean and the grounds are well manicured. Squeezed over 100 people in for both events. Great location!

Visited August 2013
Thank Allan J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lake Geneva, WI
Level Contributor
76 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Small but beautiful!”
Reviewed 29 July 2013

Don't go here expecting a huge garden, it's small and tranquil. I could have stayed there for hours sitting in the shade reading a book. There was a huge beautiful koi pond and a building with Japanese antiques. Just one of many lovely things to look at in Balboa Park!

Visited July 2013
Thank swan318
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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