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Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, and Museums
Item 16 of 26

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is a symbol of the friendship between San Diego and its sister city, Yokohama, Japan. The twelve-acre garden was designed as an immersive experience for visitors and is intended to foster appreciation for Japanese culture. There are events, exhibits, festivals, and classes held on site. The design of the garden places an emphasis on simplicity and serenity in keeping with the principles of Japanese aestheticism. In addition to koi ponds, stone arrangements, walking paths, and Sukiya-style architecture, there are Japanese plants on display, including cherry trees that bloom in the garden each spring.

Japanese Friendship Garden sign

Wood, Building, Font, Signage

Japanese Friendship Garden

Plant, Sky, Building, Flower

Japanese Friendship Garden pagoda

Plant, Sky, Building, Cloud

Japanese Friendship Garden

Plant, Plant community, Natural landscape, Tree

The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park was created to represent the friendship between the sister cities of San Diego, California, and Yokohama, Japan. By showcasing the beauty of both cultures, it invites visitors into an immersive learning and contemplative experience. The garden was also designed with the intention of highlighting the relationship between humans and the natural world. The selection of plants in the garden reflect the native flora of both San Diego and Yokohama.

In addition to emphasizing intercultural communication and appreciation, the landscape of the friendship garden was designed with the principles of simplicity and serenity in mind. The garden includes beautiful water features, stone arrangements, koi ponds, and Sukiya-style architecture in keeping with Japanese aestheticism. In addition, the Inamori Pavillion was designed according to sustainability guidelines, and it was awarded LEED certification for New Construction.

Set on a twelve acre plot of land, the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is the site of year-round events and exhibits, as well as accredited horticultural classes and workshops open to the public. There are also festivals held on site. The mission of the garden is to "educate, engage, and inspire people of diverse backgrounds about Japanese culture and community legacy."

Halverson, Mike. A Story of Friendship: The USS Walke, Mitoko Yamachi, and the Cherry Trees in the Japanese Friendship Garden: How Are these Connected?, NIWA. Accessed September 23rd 2021.

Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park. Accessed September 23rd 2021.

Japanese Friendship Garden, NIWA. Accessed September 23rd 2021.

The 1915 Tea Pavilion, NIWA. Accessed September 23rd 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Jon Lardizabal

Jon Lardizabal

Dominic Nepomuceno

Jon Lardizabal