Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego California Photographed and Written by Luxury Traveler Writer Annie Fairfax
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Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum

Built as a testament to the friendship between Japan and the United States of America, The Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego, California, is a gorgeous oasis of Japanese garden design, architecture, and botanicals that the nations share. The garden has a Japanese tea pavilion, waterfalls, koi ponds, a cherry tree grove, azalea & camellia gardens, and so much more. There are dozens of events each year, and visiting felt like being transported back to the royal gardens of Kyoto, Japan. Read on to learn how to visit, what to do, and why this was one of my favorite places we visited in San Diego.

Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego California Photographed and Written by Luxury Traveler Writer Annie Fairfax

Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum

Location: San Diego, California
Address: 2215 Pan American Road. E.
San Diego, CA 92101
Admission: $14 per Adult or
FREE with American Horticultural Society Membership
Hours: See hours here
Parking: Nearby Lots for Non-Members
(Use the SpotHero app for a discounted rate)

Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego California Photographed and Written by Luxury Traveler Writer Annie Fairfax

Why I Loved Visiting

I’ve adored the outdoors all my life. When I was a child, I’d play outside endlessly, help my mother garden, and tend to our houseplants. I’m certain that’s a universal experience. Now, my passion for living things has grown into my major at university, and as a professional luxury travel writer, I love exploring the world too. Gardens are such incredible places of cultural exchange. The love of watching flowers bloom and grow, arranging flower beds, and everything else gardens entail spans cultures, religions, and borders and unites people in a way little else does.

Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego California Photographed and Written by Luxury Traveler Writer Annie Fairfax

After the devastation of World War II, there was a massive need to work towards peace on an individual and cultural level between Japan and the US. It’s so sad that things ever came to conflict, but projects and expressions of compassion, admiration, and respect like the Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego have helped to bridge this gap for decades. In 1957, 12 years after the end of the war, San Diego and Yokohama, Japan, became sister cities, a process that can take years to work towards. Conflicts often exist between governments or even specific politicians, and the citizens are caught in the crosshairs. By patronizing, supporting, and celebrating gardens like this, and by learning that we’re not so different after all, we can ensure peace and prosperity between our nations for generations to come. Isn’t it beautiful to realize that even though oceans may separate us, little else can?

Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego California Photographed and Written by Luxury Traveler Writer Annie Fairfax

Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego California Photographed and Written by Luxury Traveler Writer Annie Fairfax

This garden was especially beautiful. Replete with deer scares, bonsai displays, stone lanterns, a tea pavilion, and plenty more, it felt like setting foot back in Japan. It speaks volumes about the dedication, talent, and love that went into this garden that visitors feel so transported simply by strolling through it. We hope to visit Japan again for our tenth wedding anniversary this year, and this garden made us want to travel back even sooner! It was one of the most beautiful, welcoming, fascinating, and educational nations we’ve ever had the honor of visiting, and I just can’t get enough Japanese culture!

Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego California Photographed and Written by Luxury Traveler Writer Annie Fairfax

I particularly love green spaces like this in hot climates. Inside the garden, the temperature was a good 10ºF cooler. Plants essentially absorb heat, and while they’re doing that, they raise humidity and absorb carbon dioxide, giving us oxygen! Visiting gardens like this one is good for your health, complexion, and your overall wellbeing. I always feel so at peace amidst plants. The magnolia tree pictured below was especially lovely as it was in full bloom and smelled splendid.

Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego California Photographed and Written by Luxury Traveler Writer Annie Fairfax

If you’re in San Diego, be sure to stop by the Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum to learn about all of the efforts they’re making toward peace and understanding between two nations who were once at war but are now close allies and friends.

Japanese Friendship Garden & Museum in San Diego California Photographed and Written by Luxury Traveler Writer Annie Fairfax

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One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Definitely checking this out next time we’re in SD.