Ringing the Japanese Friendship Bell!

The Japanese Friendship Bell on San Diego’s Shelter Island is rung perhaps twice a year: typically for the New Year and during special occasions.

Yesterday, the completion of the Pacific Rim Park Friendship Walk was one such occasion!

Those who participated in this walk for peace were invited up in groups of four to ring the large bell, which was forged in Japan. The bell was given to San Diego in 1958 by the city of Yokohama, its Sister City, as a token of eternal friendship. The bell symbolizes the hope for everlasting peace.

The traditional bronze bell, six feet high and almost two and half tons, was cast by Masahiko Katori, who has been called a Living National Treasure by the government of Japan.

I was expecting a loud booming clang when the swinging wooden pole struck the bell, but the sound was surprisingly low and mellow. It was a dignified, subtle, spiritual sound. The bell spoke with a voice that was strangely sublime.

Before the ringing of the Japanese Friendship Bell commenced, the taiko drumming group Genbu Daiko performed nearby.

In groups of four, people approach the Japanese Friendship Bell on Shelter Island.

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Richard Schulte

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

2 thoughts on “Ringing the Japanese Friendship Bell!”

  1. Visiting my childhood hideaway, I see! In the early 1960s when I was attending Point Loma High School, that dirt area around the bell was a moat, and the bell was protected by removing one of those flat slabs in the middle of it via crane. There was a tradition back then, one that I didn’t partake in, that whenever Point Loma won a football game — and we won a lot back then — one group of wags or another would jump the moat and ring the hell out of that bell. You could hear it all over the bay as PL announced another triumph.

    As you can see from the photos, getting out there wasn’t difficult as you could get a nice running start. Getting back was a bit trickier, as it was more or less a standing long jump, and there’s a story I can’t confirm of a girl in full formal going into that waist-deep, often green water. I think, though I was attending Monterey High in 65, that this ended when the SDPD started staking it out after games.

    But Shelter Island in the 60s wasn’t the attraction it is now. There wasn’t much there besides the Yacht Club and the Bali-Hai restaurant, and as I lived right up the hill, this was my go-to spot when I wanted to be alone and introspective. Nobody ever once thought to look for me there. Thanks for this in-depth post that brought back some cherished memories. I can always count on you!

    Liked by 1 person

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