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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 193 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 56
  • 59
    Very good
  • 35
  • 12
  • 12
Beautiful, serene and well tended. demanding physically

Upper and lower gardens make a steep climb up and down, but worth it. Beautiful blossoms, architecture and waterfalls. Small koi ponds fed by streams, sculpture, and pottery to... read more

Reviewed 8 April 2017
Chandler, Arizona
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193 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 174: English reviews
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I was excited to visit the garden today with my mom who'd never been there. We're from further north in California (near Disneyland), and we visit San Diego several times a year, but I hadn't been to the garden in many years. When I checked the website I was extra pleased to see that the Tuesday we'd be visiting was... More 

Thank Kustomkitsch
Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
Level Contributor
113 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I was looking forward to visiting this garden but was sadly disappointed. Hardly anything in bloom, some parts didn't even resemble most of the Japanese gardens we've been to. There is a collection of Bonsai and the koi pond was quite lovely, but not on par with others. My husband has some mobility issues and the paths are manageable, but... More 

Thank Cindy R
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
86 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Peaceful escape. This beautifully landscaped garden, with koi pond, cultural architecture and pathways along the sloping canyon -- and a gently cascading stream is heavenly. Even better during the cherry blossom season!

Thank D F
Temecula, California
Level Contributor
52 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This garden is just average. The koi pools are great. The canyon and the plants just didn't seem very Japanese to me. Balboa park is already a beautiful 'garden'; why pay extra to walk down the hill?

Thank Janie R
Level Contributor
519 reviews
172 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 262 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

There is a Koi pond, meditation hall viewing a Zen garden, bonsai exhibit, and walking pathways to the pond & waterfall. Open 10 am - 5 pm daily. Admission is $10 for adults. Students, seniors, and military will receive a discount. A place to reflect one's thoughts. Hope this helps you for your first visit.

Thank FLworldwanderer
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
307 reviews
190 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Nestled in the heart of Balboa Park, the Japanese Friendship Garden has meandering Canyon paths, well-groomed greenery, a bonsai garden, a koi pond, a meditation garden, and exhibit space. In addition to the natural wonders, you can enjoy a class, such as gentle yoga or ikebana, or attend a special exhibit or performance in the Pavillion. Recently the Edo Marionettes... More 

1 Thank GlobalGypsy_13
Federal way
Level Contributor
137 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 weeks ago via mobile

The waterfalls, perfectly positioned benches, and beautifully landscaped gardens make this a perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon. The pathways are stroller and wheelchair accessible. A must visit area of Balboa Park.

Thank L1drake
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
350 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2017

These Japanese gardens are without doubt, the best I have ever seen. Super designed, absolutely wonderful, so beautiful, and well put together, the quality of the trees is immense, and the colours are gorgeous.The water features were very creative/ functional, and a example of Japanese culture.Fantastic.

Thank gillian p
Chandler, Arizona
Level Contributor
259 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2017

Upper and lower gardens make a steep climb up and down, but worth it. Beautiful blossoms, architecture and waterfalls. Small koi ponds fed by streams, sculpture, and pottery to view at leisure. Very well tended, but not for kids as it is too static for them and they will rapidly be bored. Admission is a bit pricey at $8, but... More 

Thank slaterock1704
Level Contributor
133 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2017 via mobile

This is a great place to visit any time of the year. Be ready to walk though because it is a good walk to the bottom and back. Plenty of benches to rest and beautiful scenery to take in. Take your time and enjoy.

Thank Lovetochew

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?