The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park is designed to present an atmosphere of elegant simplicity and quiet beauty. The design is guided by the original principles of the Japanese garden while incorporating elements of the regional landscape and climate.
To the right of the Entry Gate, the Entrance Stone is inscribed with the kanji symbols of the Garden's name, San-Kei-En. The Stone was a gift to the Garden from the San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society.
Along the gardens winding paths are a Zen garden for meditation, an exhibit house, a koi pond, bonsai exhibit, a wisteria arbor and a ceremonial gate.
The Garden originated as a teahouse during the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition.
Traditionally, the sound the Shi-Shi-Odoshi makes against the rock basin keeps evil spirits away. Here the Shi-Shi-Odoshi is used for the sound it makes in the silence of the Garden. The tsukubai (rock basin) catches the water as it spills from the shi-shi-odoshi.
Bonsai (pronounced bone-sigh) is an ancient horticultural art form. Literally meaning “tray planting”, it is the art of dwarfing trees or plants and developing them into an aesthetically appealing shape by growing, pruning and training in containers according to prescribed techniques.
Recently members of a P.E.O. group visited the garden followed by lunch at a nearby café. P.E.O. is a philanthropic and educational women’s organization.