If you weren’t able to fulfill your bucket list dream of going to Japan this summer, we’ve found the next best thing. This super-lush Japanese waterfall garden in San Diego will make you feel like you’ve traveled all the way to Kyoto. You won’t even have to break the bank.

The Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego is easily one of the city’s most beautiful hidden gems. It’s the perfect place for a day trip adventure with your friends or to wow your SO on a romantic date.

In addition to the beautiful landscape, the gardens also offer a Cherry Blossom Festival every March, host art exhibits and talks throughout the year, and a refreshing yoga and chi kung session every Wednesday through Friday.

Admission into the gardens is $12 per adult and $10 for students. If you're a San Diego resident, you can expect free admission on the third Tuesday of every month.

You’ll find the gardens located in Balboa Park only two miles from downtown San Diego. As soon as you step into the green gardens, you’ll be in awe of its beauty.

As you explore, you’ll walk through a canopy of rare black pine trees, see the lovely bonsai exhibit, and of course, the iconic pink cherry blossom trees. The garden has three different scenes based on water, flowers, and mountainous features.

The entire gardens span 11 acres!  As you stroll along the pathways, you’ll find purposefully-arranged flowers and beautiful Japanese decor. Traditional features like stone lanterns and bamboo fences provide the perfect touches for those seeking an immersive and rejuvenating escape.

The entire experience is meant to soothe you, providing the ultimate sense of tranquility. Two of the most popular features are the koi pond teeming with colorful fish and the cascading waterfalls pouring into the pools.

According to the Japanese Friendship Gardens, they were made to reflect the friendship between San Diego and its sister city in Japan. This living work of art provides visitors with a beautiful glimpse into Japanese culture and creates a unique experience through an atmosphere of beauty and simplicity.

Japanese Friendship Garden: San Diego

Location: 2215 Pan American Rd E, San Diego, CA 92101

Price: Admission for adults is $12 and $10 for students.

Hours: Hours of admission differ by season. Check here for more information.

Why You Should Go: You can immerse yourself in a beautiful Japanese garden hidden deep within San Diego. There are waterfalls, koi ponds, cherry blossoms, and more.

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