Volunteer at the Garden!

The heart of a volunteer is not measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others.
— DeAnn Hollis

Volunteers are vital to the success of the Garden and are an integral part of the education program. Please join us and make a difference in our community! There are many fun opportunities available to participate involving varying degrees of hourly commitment.


  • 10% discount on any level of membership for active regular volunteers

  • Invitation to our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

  • Enjoy the camaraderie of fellow volunteers

  • Learn about Japanese culture and gardens

  • Build experience in various skill sets, including administration, gardening, and more!

Please note that the Garden does not accept court referrals.


  • Garden Assistant

    • The most relaxing volunteer job in San Diego! Assist our gardeners by pulling weeds, watering plants, and performing various other duties under the gardeners' supervision. No previous gardening experience required and scheduling is flexible.

  • Docents

    • Lead tours for JFG visitors throughout the upper and lower areas of the garden. 8 week training sessions are available and begin every year in September.

  • Special Project Volunteer

  • Departmental Assistant (Please See the Internship Page)

  • Outreach

    • Assist us by attending events outside JFG to run a cultural activity booth or informational booth. *Occurs only a few times a year.

  • Facility

    • Assist facility coordinator with various tasks around JFG

      • Carpentry skills and experience needed

      • Age 21 and older


December Nights: December 7th and 8th.

Cherry Blossom Festival: March The JFG throws a festival every spring to celebrate our blooming cherry blossom trees! We need volunteers to help us run our beer and tea garden, kids area, in-house food booth and more. 

Bon Odori Festival: in August.

Free Tuesday: Help us make and serve food, run and manage our sales booth, protect and monitor our koi pond, and provide cultural activities on every third Tuesday of the month.


- Seijin Shiki (coming of age ceremony)

March                                                         - Cherry Blossom Festival

April                                                            - Membership Tea

June                                                                                   - Annual Gala

July                                                                                    - Summer Camp (Min commitment of 15 hrs/week)

August                                                                                 - O-Bon Festival                                                           

October                                                                                                      - Halloween Family Day - Pop Culture Party

November                                                                                               - Shichi Go San (coming of age ceremony) 

December                                                                                                    - December Nights

For more informationcontact the Volunteer&Outreach Coordinator at volunteer@niwa.org or call (619) 232-2781.

Banner Photo Credit: Dominic Nepomuceno