Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Japanese Friendship Gardens of San Diego

It seems like we never get tired of San Diego.  We have visited it a few times.  Here we went to Old Town and checked out a bit of its historical buildings.  Here we said happy 100th birthday to the San Diego Zoo.  Here we visited the Mormon Battalion and became soldiers for the day. Here we went back once more to the Whaley house.  Here and Here we went to amazing restaurants both in Old Town.  We visited the Midway, Sea World and the Festival of Sail.  To say that we love to visit San Diego might be a it of an understatement. Guess where we went this time?! Yep, San Diego.  This time we visited the Japanese Friendship Gardens in Balboa Park. 

Like most every day in San Diego the weather was just about perfect.  I think that is a big draw to the people that live there.  There are a lot of people who live there.  We wandered over to Balboa Park to explore and realized that a trip here needs more time.  There are more than 17 museums to explore.  We figured our best bet was to come back on our next trip and spend it all with a multi day pass.  For $62 you can get admission to each of the amazing destinations.  Otherwise you can pay for each individually.  The Japanese Friendship Garden was $10 a person to explore the 12 acres of beauty.  

The Japanese Friendship Garden is an expression of friendship between the sister cities of San Diego and Yokohama.  The garden was first opened in 1991 but before that there was a lot of history.  in 1915 a tea house stood in Balboa Park as a symbol for strong cultural and commercial ties.  For nearly 30 years this tea house was maintained by the Asakawa family.  Eventually the house was closed but in 1955 citizens of San Diego formed a plan to expand and restore the Japanese gardens.  After hearing the plans of San Diegans to restore the gardens Yokohama gave San Diego 100 Cherry Blossom Trees.  

The history has a beautiful story of a city coming together to create something special.  The story is told deeper here on the past page of the website.  Today we get to explore the gardens and enjoy a quiet walk.  

In a big busy city like San Diego this garden is filled with a quiet reverence that is calming and refreshing.  You don't feel rushed or busy.  You can just walk and ponder.  They have benches scattered all over to look out into all the green and growing things.  

To keep this quiet peace there is some etiquette they ask of us.  There are no pets allowed.  California is a pretty pet friendly place but leave Fido home unless he is a certified service animal.  No food is allowed.  No smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco is welcome.  Stay on the path at all times no matter how tempting it is to dip your toes in that crystal clear water.  Keep an eye on your children and make sure they are following the rules too.  Don't feed the koi fish unless you are at an event that provides koi feeding.  Clean up after yourselves and keep your voices low.  Simple rules really that all add up to create an almost sacred feeling in this place.  


This seems like a great place for pictures but make sure you read the photography rules here before you decide to get your wedding or family photos done here.  They allow it but there is a small fee involved.  



One of my favorite places in the garden was the collection of Bonsai trees they had on display.  These trees are maintained weekly by the San Diego Bonsai Club and if you stop by on a Wednesday you might even get to see them hard at work.  I had no idea what a Bonsai tree was.  I figured it was a kind of tree that they grew but in reality it is a method of growing and taming ordinary trees through pruning the roots and branches and letting them grow in small pots.  

We also loved the Koi Collection (through that link you can see a photo of each fish).  There were a few spots that had these fish happily swimming.  The colors were vivid and all different.  The size is what surprised me the most though.  These were big fish.  It turns out these are show quality fish maintained by the Koi Club of San Diego.  Each fish was hand selected in Japan and brought here to thrive under the clubs care.  I didn't know that a Koi Club existed.  It makes me wonder how many things we are missing out on because we don't take the time to stop and look.  

After all of this our day was running short.  Balboa Park has a lot to visit and we have decided it is important to come back on another trip to see more.  Jeremy is excited for the Fleet Science Center.  Faith is excited for the San Diego Natural History Museum.  Brandan is excited to see the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the San Diego Auto Museum.  As for me, I am excited to drive around the wicker basket cars.  I promise to get you lots of photos soon.  Until next time, keep on keeping on! 

❤ Misty






 

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