Cherry blossoms at Japanese Friendship Garden.

Beautiful cherry blossoms have opened at the Japanese Friendship Garden!
Beautiful cherry blossoms have opened at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

Because a big storm is on its way into Southern California, I got my weekend walk in this morning. I didn’t want to venture too far and get caught in the rain, so I decided to head up to Balboa Park to check out the cherry blossoms at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

Next weekend is the big, super popular Cherry Blossom Festival. I don’t like crowds generally, so my small adventure today was just perfect! Relatively few people were visiting the quiet Friendship Garden. I guess other folks, like me, were worried about getting caught in a chilly shower. Turns out most of my walk was in sunshine!

Not long ago the Japanese Friendship Garden occupied just a small narrow spot in Balboa Park, and visitors could see and enjoy everything with a very short visit. No longer! The spectacular expansion into the canyon and additional coming expansions promise to make this a truly world-class garden.

In addition to traditional Japanese garden features and the cherry blossoms, one can walk among many beautiful trees and down shady hillsides of flowers, which include azaleas, camellias and hydrangeas. Anyone with an interest in gardening must go see this incredible place!

A shout out to the friendly folks at the garden!

View of the Japanese Friendship Garden expansion in Balboa Park canyon.
View of the Japanese Friendship Garden expansion in Balboa Park canyon.

The above pic was taken from a viewing deck between the House of Hospitality and the Tea Pavilion. We’ll be heading down there in a bit!

Sign near entrance explains history of the garden. In 1915 a Japanese tea house was built at another location in Balboa Park for the Panama-California Exposition.
Sign near entrance explains history of the garden. In 1915 a Japanese tea house was built at another location in Balboa Park for the Panama-California Exposition.
Today's Japanese Tea Pavilion is next to the Friendship Garden and offers many choices of tea and great food.
Today’s Japanese Tea Pavilion is next to the Friendship Garden and offers many choices of tea and great food.

If you’ve ever been to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, you’ve surely seen the Japanese Tea Pavilion right next door. Next time you enjoy a concert, grab a bite here!

People enter Japanese Friendship Garden. The San-Kei-En entrance stone, gift from San Diego's sister city Yokohama, translates Three Scene Garden--Water, Pastoral and Mountain.
People enter Japanese Friendship Garden. The San-Kei-En entrance stone, gift from San Diego’s sister city Yokohama, translates Three Scene Garden–Water, Pastoral and Mountain.
Water gently drips from hollow bamboo, inviting meditation.
Water gently drips from hollow bamboo, inviting meditation.
Visitors check out thought-provoking historical and cultural displays in the Exhibit House.
Visitors check out thought-provoking historical and cultural displays in the Exhibit House.

The Exhibit House includes a room with benches that look out a big window at the Dry Stone Garden. The gravel is raked into simple patterns for meditation. I didn’t want to disturb people, so no photos of that.

Oribe-doro lantern. Exhibit House with views of Karesansui (Dry Stone Garden) in background.
Oribe-doro lantern. Exhibit House with views of Karesansui (Dry Stone Garden) in background.
The amazing Koi Pond is a favorite spot to relax and feel alive.
The amazing Koi Pond is a favorite spot to relax and feel alive.
The koi are colorful and curious. They seemed interested in my camera!
The koi are colorful and curious. They seemed interested in my camera!
People stroll slowly along a tranquil path in one of San Diego's most beautiful gardens.
People stroll along a tranquil path in one of San Diego’s most beautiful gardens.
Stepping stones lead toward the Activity Room, where various Japan-related clubs meet.
Stepping stones lead toward the Activity Room, where various Japan-related clubs meet.
Looking down at a path that leads into canyon. New construction is a large pavilion that will open later this year.
Looking down at a path that leads into canyon. New construction is a large pavilion that will open later this year.
A special Bonsai Exhibit area.
A special Bonsai Exhibit area.
Perfectly pruned bonsai includes a bright red bougainvillea!
Perfectly pruned bonsai includes a bright red bougainvillea!
That bright tree in the distance is a pink trumpet tree.
That bright tree in the distance is a pink trumpet tree.
Light of Friendship.
Light of Friendship.
Walking down a path through a scene of carefully maintained beauty.
Walking down a path through a scene of carefully maintained beauty.
The Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate leads into the canyon, where the Japanese Cherry trees await. That's another pink trumpet tree!
The Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate leads into the canyon, where the Japanese Cherry trees await. That’s another pink trumpet tree!
Former San Diego mayor Charles Dail created the Sister City Association with Yokohama.
Former San Diego mayor Charles Dail created the Sister City Association with Yokohama.
Visitors head down a fairly easy hiking trail to see the cherry blossoms and other flowers.
Visitors head down an easy hiking trail to see cherry blossoms and other flowers.
Another look at the large canyon pavilion buildings, which will be finished soon.
Another look at the large canyon pavilion buildings, which will be finished soon.
Here are some cherry blossoms! Many are blooming, even though it isn't spring quite yet!
Here are some cherry blossoms! Many are blooming, even though it isn’t spring quite yet!
A sparkling man-made river runs through the canyon bottom, surrounded by a gorgeous landscape.
A sparkling man-made river runs through the canyon bottom, surrounded by a gorgeous landscape.
A waterfall and gurgling, bubbling water put me in a thoughtful mood.
A waterfall and gurgling, bubbling water put me in a thoughtful mood.
A patient gardener tends to one of the many shrubs and plants in the garden.
A steady-handed expert gardener tends to one of the many shrubs and plants in the garden.  I envy him!
Delicate pink cherry blossoms hover over lush green grass.
Delicate pink cherry blossoms hover over lush green grass.
Gauzy pink blooms seem so new and promising.
Gauzy pink blooms seem so new and promising.
One last photo of the new pavilion under construction. Looks inviting!
One last photo of the new pavilion under construction. Looks inviting!
There are about 160 ornamental cherry trees in this grove. I think I'll be going here more often!
There are about 160 ornamental cherry trees in this grove. I think I’ll be going here more often!
The Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego's Balboa Park is a place of beauty.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park is a place of beauty.

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

9 thoughts on “Cherry blossoms at Japanese Friendship Garden.”

  1. Amazing! I love the new parts of the garden. This is one of my favorite spots in the park. I lived in Yokohama, Japan for a little over a year before moving a bit south. Yokohama is an incredibly beautiful city with a large boulevard with cherry trees on each side. In the spring it is like driving through a pink tunnel, simply gorgeous. Going to the Friendship garden was like a little visit back to my home there. I miss both places now, Yokohama and San Diego, thanks for this post. DAF

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Living in Yokohama must’ve been an amazing experience. I had heard it’s quite beautiful! Thanks for sharing your memories of the two sister cities! When the new pavilion in the canyon opens, hopefully I’ll take more photos! Richard

      Liked by 1 person

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