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Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden. A Japanese Friendship Garden is a beautiful haven of tranquility. It is a place of peace and tranquility. The garden was originally established as an expression of ultimate friendship with first sister city, Yokohama, Japan. Design elements stem from traditional Japanese garden design techniques and express an appreciation of two cultures via nature. Some of those traditional principles date back as far as the 12th Century but have long been modified to fit San Diego climate.

In the early years of the garden, the main focus was centered on water features. These features are still a large part of the Japanese friendship garden today. Water features include Koi ponds, stone ponds, and large rocks placed in and around the water. There are also a wide variety of Japanese lanterns which are burned at night to symbolize good luck and the absence of bad fortune.

The layout of the gardens is designed around a central courtyard which was referred to as the last entry point into the garden. The focal point of the courtyard was often a small bridge which crossed to the rest of the gardens.

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The bridge was originally made of wood with two steps leading to it. Over the centuries the bridge has changed to stone and the gate has closed to keep out animals. Today it is the last entry point to the japanese friendship garden. Two stairways lead down to the first and last admission into the garden.

The second area of the japanese friendship garden is meant to be a relaxing stroll through beautiful meadows. The ponds are filled with water and small rocks are scattered here and there to create a serene atmosphere. The second area is usually an afterthought when planning the garden, but one that is often missed by visitors to the garden.

On a sunny Saturday morning a small flock of joggers trudge up to the footbridge leading off the japanese friendship garden. A short walk will bring you right to the entrance of the park. Upon arrival a beautiful statue of the goddess of healing sits on a large plinth to welcome you. This is the main statue located on the south side of the path, facing southwest. Beyond this a paved path will take you into the peaceful and beautiful setting of phoenix streams.

To the north are two small stone bridges crossing over two beautiful moats which were used historically for a ferry between Japan and China. North of this is a statue of a Koi called the himeji. These graceful Koi fish have been bred in a Japanese garden for centuries. They are now on display at the center of the park. Other than the two bridges the entire landscape of the japanese friendship garden has been lovingly restored by volunteers.

In addition to the ponds and other natural features there are several key locations within the park that also contain a focal point of the garden. Two of these key areas are the himeji statue at the center of the park and the two pavilions which are situated to either side of the entrance to the japanese friendship garden. In the case of the himeji statue there is a pavilion which contains a small cafe style restaurant which serves a selection of Japanese and Western cuisine. The two pavilions contain a stage for live performances and a gift shop which sells local art, crafts and jewelry.

Within the japanese friendship garden there are several different activities that anyone can participate in. For example on weekends and public holidays there is a performers stage where local talents perform music and other events such as Japanese tea ceremonies. On a more regular basis visitors can enjoy a trampolining experience while on a day out to the cherry tree grove.

In addition there are also a number of nature walks, hiking trails, and a boat launch and marine center so that anyone who visits San Diego can have an up close look at the beautiful marine life living in the waters around the California coast.

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