Past: Our Roots
After the world exposition
From 1915 through 1955, the Japanese Tea Garden was a familiar presence in Balboa Park until it was dismantled to make room for the Children’s Zoo.
The Garden Today
After the end of World War II, San Diego became an early participant in the Sister City program, and developed close ties with the city of Yokohama, in Japan. A series of gifts, like the Japanese Friendship Bell, and financial support from local and Japanese businesses, encouraged San Diego leaders to consider creating a Japanese garden in Balboa Park. San Diego citizens rejoiced over the opening in August 1990 of the first phase of the Japanese Friendship Garden. The second phase of improvements to the existing 2.5 acres was completed in 1999. In 2015, the Japanese Friendship Garden opened an additional 9-acres which include the Inamori Pavilion, water features, bridges, cherry tree grove, and the camellia and azalea garden.
Today, the Japanese Friendship Garden is visited annually by close to 100,000 people from all over the United States and around the world. In the sixty years since the original Japanese tea house was demolished, the Japanese Friendship Garden has benefited from the leadership and financial gifts of countless numbers of people in San Diego, in Japan, and from throughout the world. It is our responsibility to build on this legacy, and to continue to promote friendship between diverse cultures.