Cherry Blossoms at Japanese Friendship Garden

Don’t waste any time getting to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park if you want to see the cherry trees in full bloom! It appears that they are at their peak as of 16 March, and the blossoms’ petals are beginning to drift to the ground in a mini blizzard of pink when a good gust of wind comes along.

There’s a slight chance of rain forecast for Sunday, 20 March and, if that comes to pass, I suspect that many of the cherry blossoms could be knocked from the trees. You may want to call ahead to confirm.

The photos in the gallery below will do a far better job of conveying how the entire garden is in full bloom and is an explosion of color right now. I particularly enjoyed the bonsai tree collection and the koi pond. The entire garden is perfectly manicured by a dedicated staff and volunteers, and that makes the experience even more special.

This was my first time in the garden since the lower level was opened several years ago, and it’s my favorite part of the garden now. They continue to expand with a new waterfall under construction on the north side of the park, and a small gift shop is also in the lower garden.

This is a very popular time to visit the Japanese Friendship Garden, so you may have to wait a bit for admission. When I arrived around noon on Wednesday, there were about 10 people in line in front of me; when I left, there were easily 50+ people in line. (They did have signs with QR codes that you could scan and purchase your tickets online, but you still had to wait in line to present your ticket to the admission booth to be scanned for entry.)

Next to the admissions booth is the Tea Pavilion with a Japanese-inspired menu of meals and teas. It is separate from the Japanese Friendship Garden and you don’t need to pay admission to the garden to access it.

If you want a good dose of Spring, check out the Japanese Friendship Garden this week!

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What You Need to Know

Location:2215 Pan American Road E.
San Diego, CA 92101
Transit:Buses #7 or #215 to the east side of Balboa Park on Park Blvd.
Buses #3 or #120 to the west side of the Park on Fourth and Fifth Avenues and Laurel Street
Hours:10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
Last admission 5 p.m.
Phone:(619) 232 – 2721
Website:https://www.niwa.org/
Cost:$ 12 – Adults (18+)
$ 10 – Students, Seniors (65+), Military
Children ages 6 and younger are free.
Tips:The Japanese Friendship Garden has its own app that has self-guided tours, a plant map, and lists events and program information.
The garden is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs, but some of the fine gravel paths are narrow.
The path from the lower garden to the upper garden is very gradual and easily navigated.
Restrooms are located on both the upper and lower gardens.
Date Visited:Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Click to enlarge image.

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