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Behind the Scenes of the Garden Expansion

The Japanese Friendship Garden has started offering tours of the nine-acre expansion area between the garden and the Prado restaurant. Last Wednesday, I went on a one-hour, docent-led tour with three visitors. We were led up hills and through newly constructed walkways for an up-close look at the progress of one of Balboa Park’s most anticipated additions.

Since the garden’s grand opening in 1991, it has become a Balboa Park staple that offers visitors a chance to drop their to-do lists and get lost in the serene Japanese-inspired atmosphere. The Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego hopes to enrich the peaceful experience by adding many exciting new features.

Additional Koi Pond

 Will allow people to donate their koi to the pond and also let interested buyers purchase fish from the pond.

Outdoor Amphitheater

Provides another venue in Balboa Park where visitors can enjoy live performances. 

Traditional Tea House

Will recreate the experience of a true Japanese tea ceremony.

Educational Classes

Will teach the art of rock placement and provide a greater insight to the garden’s beauty.

Lots of Plants

Including a tea and herb garden, cherry tree grove and azalea garden.

Lots of Rocks

To guide streams, create a dry waterfall and provide aesthetic balance.

The Japanese Friendship Garden Society is still in the process of raising funds for the completion of this project.  It hopes to finish construction by January 2015, in time for the 100th anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition, a landmark event for Balboa Park. To donate to the society, please click here

The very informative Joan Cudhea was the docent who led our tour and provided many key facts for this blog post.

To learn more, visit the Japanese Friendship Garden’s website or follow it on Facebook. The tour schedule lists the days and times expansion area tours will be held. It is free for members of the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego and costs an additional $2 for non-members. The tour involves a lot of walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. No reservations are required. 

-- Lyn Canilao