Our Mission: 

The mission of the Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego is to develop a traditional Japanese garden as a center to educate, engage, and inspire people of diverse backgrounds about Japanese culture and community legacy.


The Japanese Friendship Garden (JFG) is an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city, Yokohama. It illustrates two cultures and creates an immersive experience into Japanese culture. JFG’s design is based on centuries-old Japanese techniques adapted to San Diego’s climate and florae and seeks to foster a relationship between humans and nature, providing a respite attuned to Japanese simplicity, serenity, and aestheticism.

JFG sits on a 12-acre plot. It offers a variety of educational programs, exhibits, and festivals as well as accredited horticultural classes to enhance and deepen visitor appreciation for Japanese culture. As a valued community resource, it is well known for its unique setting, stone arrangements, koi ponds, water features, sukiya-style buildings and landscape.

The Japanese Friendship Garden was first opened in 1991. The second phase, opened in 1999, was designed by renowed landscape architect Takeo Uesugi. This phase added the Exhibit Hall, Activity Center, and Koi Pond. The third phase, completed in 2015, comprised 9 additional acres which included a 200 cherry tree grove, large azalea and camellia garden, a water feature reminiscent of the San Diego watershed, and the state of the art Inamori Pavilion.

Today, the Japanese Friendship Garden is visited annually by close to 100,000 people from all over United States and around the world. JFG is our gift to the citizens of San Diego as we continue to provide the community with educational programs to foster better understanding of Japanese culture. We are thankful to the citizens of San Diego who have helped in throughout our development. We feel it is our responsibility to build upon this legacy and continue to promote friendship among diverse cultures.

The Japanese Friendship Garden is a member of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, a collaboration of 26 arts, science, and culture institutions in Balboa Park. By working together we produce major outcomes that no single organization could achieve alone. Benefits of our Partnership include:

  • Collective cost savings of $800,000 annually

  • Improved organizational performance and creation of new resources (knowledge, innovation, and networks)

  • New financial resources–since 2008 the Partnership has brought $4.2 million in new revenue to Balboa Park

  • Improved public accessibility and safety through capital improvements and ADA upgrades

  • Reduction of Balboa Park’s carbon footprint by 5.4 million kWhs and 91,000 therms annually, the equivalent of 110 homes.

  • Training of more than four thousand Park staff and volunteers to improve professional practice and visitor experience.

To learn more about the many ways our collaboration makes the Park a better place to visit, learn, and have fun, please visit the Partnership’s website at www.bpcp.org.


To learn more about the JFG's history, follow these links:


  • Award for Leadership and Commitment in the Advancement of the Asian Community of San Diego

  • “Merit Award” by American Society of Landscape Architects Southern California Chapter in recognition of Outstanding Professional Achievement

  • Two outstanding volunteers received an award from The Friends of Balboa Park Millenium for their years of commitment to the Japanese Friendship Garden and Balboa Park

  • Commitment and Dedication to San Diego Unified School District

  • Special recognition from the Deputy Mayor Toni Atkins and Senator Chris Kehoe for its Historical Background and Achievements.

  • Asian Heritage Awards for Arts and Culture

  • Southern California Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects “Quality of Life Celebration”

  • 2013 Historical Heritage Excellence Award from San Diego Filipino American Humanitarian Foundation, Inc.

  • 2014 AAM Media & Technology Gold Award for the “JFG Haiku Hunt App”

  • 2016 Sustainability Award Winner, Balboa Park Sustainability Program | On-site Composting of Green Waste


The Japanese Friendship Garden is pleased to present our audited financial statements and 990s from the previous fiscal year. Our fiscal year occurs from July 1 through June 30. The Japanese Friendship Garden is a 501(c)(3). Inquiries can be e-mailed to jfgsd@niwa.org









した有名の造園家上杉武夫さんに設計されました。このフェーズでは、展示ホール、活動センター、と鯉の池を追加しました。 2015年に完成した第三期は、200桜の木、大きなツツジやツバキ園、サンディエゴの流域を思わせる水の機能、および芸術稲盛パビオリンの状態を含め九エーカーを含んでいました。



Banner Photo Credit: Dominic Nepomuceno