Somewhat of a park inside of a park, the Japanese Friendship Garden is a sanctuary of calm inside busy Balboa Park. Symbolic of the friendship between San Diego and the Japanese city of Yokohama, this 20-acre garden has over 200 cherry trees that dot the manicured landscape. In keeping with the tradition of Japanese gardens, the landscape here is methodically arranged so the stones, water, trees, and plants have a natural and calming energy. It’s a place for serene, inward reflection, and also a place where visitors can experience traditional Japanese culture. Stop for a drink at the tea museum and gaze out over the ponds, or wander through gardens that are meticulously planted in traditional Japanese herbs. On weekends, there can be classes in everything from Japanese language to the art of fine calligraphy, as well as a festival for the cherry blossom bloom that takes place every March.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is open from 10am-4:30pm, with the last admission at 3:30pm. Admission to the garden is $6 for adults, $5 for students, and the garden is located off of President’s Way inside of Balboa Park.