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Japanese Friendship Garden

San Diego , CA
CONTACT US
CONTACT US

LOCATION

2215 Pan American Road East
San Diego, CA 92101 US (map)

PHONE

619-232-2721

WEBSITE

View website
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ABOUT US

Explore the tranquil elegance, winding paths, ancient lanterns, peaceful waterfall, and Koi Pond of the Japanese Friendship Garden. The Garden combines zen philosophy and style in its... Read more
Explore the tranquil elegance, winding paths, ancient lanterns, peaceful waterfall, and Koi Pond of the Japanese Friendship Garden. The Garden combines zen philosophy and style in its flowering 7.5 acres to create the perfect setting for intimate ceremonies and large receptions and everything in between.The Japanese Friendship Garden has two venues on site that offer a variety of services and options for your wedding day needs.

The upper level of the garden has a beautiful Koi pond and moon viewing deck that makes a perfect ceremony and cocktail reception spot. If that's not your style, the Japanese Friendship Garden also is home to the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate which serves as a perfect ceremony and cocktail reception focal point. Nearby, the Reception Plaza is a large, open air space that allows guests to enjoy wooden arbors and the stars above. Perfect for your special day!

The Japanese Friendship Garden is proud to introduce new additions to the lower garden, which incorporate the natural elegance of Japan with the excitement and liveliness of a modern wedding venue. Guests will walk through picturesque garden paths and over earthly bridges through exotic gardens to the Inamori Pavilion. The pavilion is an indoor space with an outdoor feel and includes a deck for guests to walk around, enjoying the gorgeous scenery and peaceful waterfall.

For more information, contact events-mktg@niwa.org or call (619) 232-2721 Read less
Wedding Venue

PHOTOS

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INFO FOR WEDDING VENUE

What is the minimum number of guests required to book your venue?
1
How many event spaces or rooms does your venue offer?
7
Describe your venue:
Historic, Museum, Park / Zoo
Describe the style of your venue
Classic, Garden
What kind of settings are available?
Covered Outdoor, Indoor, Uncovered Outdoor
Which of the following wedding events does your venue service?
Bridal Shower, Ceremony, Engagement Party, Reception
What is the maximum capacity of your venue?
230
What event services do you offer?
Bridal Suite, Catering / Bar, Event Rentals, Lighting / Sound, Outside Vendors OK
What catering services do you offer?
Outside Cake OK
What bar services do you provide?
Outside Alcohol OK
What event items are available?
Chairs, Tables
What food and beverage items are available?
Linens
What transportation and access is available?
Parking, Shuttle, Wheelchair Access

REVIEWS

4.4
out of 5.0
4.6/5.0
4.5/5.0
4.7/5.0
4.3/5.0
4.0/5.0
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Thomas Wedding
Wedding:
9/19/2015
5.0/5.0
Darryll & Sacha – September 2015
We celebrated our wedding at the Japanese Friendship Garden in sunny San Diego, September of this year. We were lucky enough to have our ceremony and reception at the beautiful lower garden. The idyllic setting of the meticulously landscaped grounds, and centuries-old Japanese garden design was the perfect location for our special day. We couldn’t have picked a better venue. Our guests were able to enjoy the celebration, as well as walk the scenic landscape of the garden. Everyone in attendance took a little bit of the serene garden tranquility with them at the end of the night.
We had the best day of our lives, and for that we thank all the management and staff of JFG for extending such a warm welcome, and making us feel so relaxed in the knowledge that nothing would be less than perfect on their watch. My husband and I are very thankful for the amazing experience!
Darryll & Sacha – September 2015
We celebrated our wedding at the Japanese Friendship Garden in sunny San Diego, Read more...
Darryll & Sacha – September 2015
We celebrated our wedding at the Japanese Friendship Garden in sunny San Diego, September of this year. We were lucky enough to have our ceremony and reception at the beautiful lower garden. The idyllic setting of the meticulously landscaped grounds, and centuries-old Japanese garden design was the perfect location for our special day. We couldn’t have picked a better venue. Our guests were able to enjoy the celebration, as well as walk the scenic landscape of the garden. Everyone in attendance took a little bit of the serene garden tranquility with them at the end of the night.
We had the best day of our lives, and for that we thank all the management and staff of JFG for extending such a warm welcome, and making us feel so relaxed in the knowledge that nothing would be less than perfect on their watch. My husband and I are very thankful for the amazing experience! Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
Japanese Friendship Garden responded with the following comments:

Thank you Sacha and Darryll! It was so great to see your wedding progress, and how everything came out at the end. We are so happy that you were happy with your experience!
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Laura
Wedding:
10/25/2014
5.0/5.0
The ceremony and reception were at the koi pond in Balboa park and it was beautiful. I couldn't have asked for anything better.
The ceremony and reception were at the koi pond in Balboa park and it was beautiful. I couldn't have asked for anything Read more...
The ceremony and reception were at the koi pond in Balboa park and it was beautiful. I couldn't have asked for anything better. Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
Japanese Friendship Garden responded with the following comments:

Thank you Laura! The Koi Pond is deffinetly a beautiful spot!
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JPG
Wedding:
5/12/2007
5.0/5.0
My husband and I were set on having our wedding reception at the Japanese Friendship Garden and we are so happy we did! I can't think of anyone sweeter to work with than Lovelynn and the gardens were beautiful! This place is pretty private and no one can come in during a private event. There is almost no way for onlookers to peer into the gardens since a fence surrounds the entire property.

The plants and trees are so gorgeous and the buildings and small Japanese details are a beautiful backdrop for photos! The ceremony gate was the perfect spot to have our cake table and the koi pond was such an inviting place for our guests to enjoy appetizers and drinks before we arrived. We set the Dj up in front of the office building and the dance floor right in front of the walkway. Our favor table and gift table fit perfectly in front of the office building on the other side across from the Dj. We also rented the exhibit house for a slideshow, candles, music and a photo album for our guests to enjoy. The benches they have on the property were perfect with the white pillows we purchased to dress them up. We used them for the koi pond area during the cocktail area and for the bridal tables and the bride/groom table. The pergola was the best space for our head table and we hung white sheer curtains from it to create more culture and romance. I couldn't have thought of a more perfect spot to celebrate our marriage!!
My husband and I were set on having our wedding reception at the Japanese Friendship Garden and we are so happy we did! I Read more...
My husband and I were set on having our wedding reception at the Japanese Friendship Garden and we are so happy we did! I can't think of anyone sweeter to work with than Lovelynn and the gardens were beautiful! This place is pretty private and no one can come in during a private event. There is almost no way for onlookers to peer into the gardens since a fence surrounds the entire property.

The plants and trees are so gorgeous and the buildings and small Japanese details are a beautiful backdrop for photos! The ceremony gate was the perfect spot to have our cake table and the koi pond was such an inviting place for our guests to enjoy appetizers and drinks before we arrived. We set the Dj up in front of the office building and the dance floor right in front of the walkway. Our favor table and gift table fit perfectly in front of the office building on the other side across from the Dj. We also rented the exhibit house for a slideshow, candles, music and a photo album for our guests to enjoy. The benches they have on the property were perfect with the white pillows we purchased to dress them up. We used them for the koi pond area during the cocktail area and for the bridal tables and the bride/groom table. The pergola was the best space for our head table and we hung white sheer curtains from it to create more culture and romance. I couldn't have thought of a more perfect spot to celebrate our marriage!! Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Sandra
Wedding:
4/9/2016
4.9/5.0
This was the only venue that my husband and I wanted for our wedding. They have two areas, the Upper and Lower Garden. We just got married on the Lower Garden. The place was so beautiful even that it wasn't cherry blossom season anymore. They have bridges, waterfalls, trees, flowers... You have to go and check them out!
Some friends told us about other venues for a cheaper price but honestly, we were not interested in another place. Trust me, this place worth the money you invest. You are not going to find the same view and landscaping in a different place. We not even needed to go to a different location for our photo session.
We really enjoyed our day and I am satisfied with the service that JFG provided. They have some restrictions but we understood. They want to preserve the garden and the pavilion.
Just two inconveniences: Since the Lower Garden is a new area, the address is not included on google maps yet, so the guests could have a hard time finding the entrance. So be sure you give them a map with the location. The other thing is that at 4 pm there were still visitors and it was a little bit uncomfortable for us during the photo session. We had sometimes to wait for them to move and also to get some privacy for certain pictures.
But still, I think these two details are not very important comparing with the wonderful evening we had. I highly recommend this place.
Thank you Christine, Jennifer and the rest of the staff :)
This was the only venue that my husband and I wanted for our wedding. They have two areas, the Upper and Lower Garden. We Read more...
This was the only venue that my husband and I wanted for our wedding. They have two areas, the Upper and Lower Garden. We just got married on the Lower Garden. The place was so beautiful even that it wasn't cherry blossom season anymore. They have bridges, waterfalls, trees, flowers... You have to go and check them out!
Some friends told us about other venues for a cheaper price but honestly, we were not interested in another place. Trust me, this place worth the money you invest. You are not going to find the same view and landscaping in a different place. We not even needed to go to a different location for our photo session.
We really enjoyed our day and I am satisfied with the service that JFG provided. They have some restrictions but we understood. They want to preserve the garden and the pavilion.
Just two inconveniences: Since the Lower Garden is a new area, the address is not included on google maps yet, so the guests could have a hard time finding the entrance. So be sure you give them a map with the location. The other thing is that at 4 pm there were still visitors and it was a little bit uncomfortable for us during the photo session. We had sometimes to wait for them to move and also to get some privacy for certain pictures.
But still, I think these two details are not very important comparing with the wonderful evening we had. I highly recommend this place.
Thank you Christine, Jennifer and the rest of the staff :) Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
Japanese Friendship Garden responded with the following comments:

Thank you Sandra for the kind review! We appreciate your willingness to work around our regular visitors during that time, and being respectful of our plants! Hands down, you two had great music and a fun party that we will always remember! Congrats, and enjoy married life!
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jean
Wedding:
9/4/2011
4.9/5.0
This was the only venue that my husband and I looked at for our wedding! I lived in San Diego for almost 25 years and have never came by this hidden gem until it was time to look for the perfect location. We definitely wanted something outdoors since San Diego is a gorgeous city. I love that the venue is in the heart of Balboa Park so our guests were able to enjoy a beautiful backdrop as well. Lovelynn worked with us in the beginning as the Special Event Coordinator and she was amazing with us! Our guests repeatedly complimented how perfect this venue was for our special day!
This was the only venue that my husband and I looked at for our wedding! I lived in San Diego for almost 25 years and have Read more...
This was the only venue that my husband and I looked at for our wedding! I lived in San Diego for almost 25 years and have never came by this hidden gem until it was time to look for the perfect location. We definitely wanted something outdoors since San Diego is a gorgeous city. I love that the venue is in the heart of Balboa Park so our guests were able to enjoy a beautiful backdrop as well. Lovelynn worked with us in the beginning as the Special Event Coordinator and she was amazing with us! Our guests repeatedly complimented how perfect this venue was for our special day! Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Jorgie
Wedding:
8/2/2008
4.9/5.0
My venue was beautiful.
My venue was beautiful.
My venue was beautiful. Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Anonymous
Wedding:
2+ years ago
4.6/5.0
This is a lovely venue for a small, simple ceremony. They were flexible with their policies to allow us more time in the venue for setup and cleanup. We didn't need much and they don't offer alot of frills. They offer chairs and serving tables only. We provided our own linens, etc. For the arrangement we made we had to do all of the cleanup and haul away all of our own trash etc. I imagine that if you got a different contract, you could get more service, but we got the "budget" contract. Given that, they were great at brainstorming a last minute indoor option when the weather threatened rain, and they moved the chairs back outside when the skies cleared. They offered us a space for dressing and getting ready, and the area was freshly swept and trimmed just prior to our ceremony. It was a stunning location for a very small wedding and I'm glad ours was there.
This is a lovely venue for a small, simple ceremony. They were flexible with their policies to allow us more time in the Read more...
This is a lovely venue for a small, simple ceremony. They were flexible with their policies to allow us more time in the venue for setup and cleanup. We didn't need much and they don't offer alot of frills. They offer chairs and serving tables only. We provided our own linens, etc. For the arrangement we made we had to do all of the cleanup and haul away all of our own trash etc. I imagine that if you got a different contract, you could get more service, but we got the "budget" contract. Given that, they were great at brainstorming a last minute indoor option when the weather threatened rain, and they moved the chairs back outside when the skies cleared. They offered us a space for dressing and getting ready, and the area was freshly swept and trimmed just prior to our ceremony. It was a stunning location for a very small wedding and I'm glad ours was there. Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
Japanese Friendship Garden responded with the following comments:

Thank you for your compliments! We are happy that you enjoyed your wedding with us. Since your wedding, we have expanded quite a bit and have alternated our contracts to be a little more flexible to our guests. I hope you can come back and see all of our hard work at the garden!
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Lauren
Wedding:
8/23/2014
4.5/5.0
Absolutely stunning place to get married! We had 130 with seated dinner and a dancing area, and it was perfect. The ceremony space, while beautiful, might have been a little tight for the ceremony in retrospect, but it was a 20 minute ceremony and I don't think anyone minded!

Pros - outdoors! You can do every aspect of the wedding outside if you'd like (ceremony, reception and cocktail hour). Public space (a little more budget friendly), naturally beautiful, can have loud music till late! Great space to hold supplies from the night before, as well as a "green-room" type set up for the bridal party to hang out before the ceremony/the band to take their break.

Cons - the JFG does have certain restrictions on candle use, putting things on the grass, hanging things, etc but nothing that was off-putting at all!

Overall, if you want a beautiful outdoor venue in San Diego, that you can customize and party till late...look no further than the JFG! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Absolutely stunning place to get married! We had 130 with seated dinner and a dancing area, and it was perfect. The Read more...
Absolutely stunning place to get married! We had 130 with seated dinner and a dancing area, and it was perfect. The ceremony space, while beautiful, might have been a little tight for the ceremony in retrospect, but it was a 20 minute ceremony and I don't think anyone minded!

Pros - outdoors! You can do every aspect of the wedding outside if you'd like (ceremony, reception and cocktail hour). Public space (a little more budget friendly), naturally beautiful, can have loud music till late! Great space to hold supplies from the night before, as well as a "green-room" type set up for the bridal party to hang out before the ceremony/the band to take their break.

Cons - the JFG does have certain restrictions on candle use, putting things on the grass, hanging things, etc but nothing that was off-putting at all!

Overall, if you want a beautiful outdoor venue in San Diego, that you can customize and party till late...look no further than the JFG! HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
Bg6
J.B.
Wedding:
8/7/2010
4.4/5.0
The most beautiful venue in San Diego. They have a few rules & restrictions, but they are easy to live by.
The most beautiful venue in San Diego. They have a few rules & restrictions, but they are easy to live by.
The most beautiful venue in San Diego. They have a few rules & restrictions, but they are easy to live by. Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Christine
Wedding:
5/25/2014
4.0/5.0
Beautiful location - we are so happy we chose the JFG for our ceremony and reception! The process was not complicated at all, and the on-site coordinators (we had two during their transfer/transition period to the new person) were super helpful and responsive.

There are some things that we wish we had thought of beforehand, but none of them would have been deal-breakers for us: the San Diego Airport landing path is nearby, so there is a possibility that you will hear planes during your ceremony (not super loud, but in the background); open flames are not allowed (e.g. sparklers for grand exit, ceremony unity candle, or reception candles without at least a side covering of a couple of inches above the flame are not permitted); choosing a venue like the JDG that does not offer all rentals, catering, lighting, etc. as a package, can be a bit stressful and less cost-effective than say, a hotel venue that offers it all. Despite these "drawbacks", we got so many compliments on how beautiful the wedding was, and we didn't really devote much of our budget to the decor - the garden really speaks for itself and is a beautiful, natural gem that kids to grandparents can enjoy and appreciate...that's not to say that you can't dress is up to match your own taste and style - it's perfect if you're looking for something carte-blanche!
Beautiful location - we are so happy we chose the JFG for our ceremony and reception! The process was not complicated at Read more...
Beautiful location - we are so happy we chose the JFG for our ceremony and reception! The process was not complicated at all, and the on-site coordinators (we had two during their transfer/transition period to the new person) were super helpful and responsive.

There are some things that we wish we had thought of beforehand, but none of them would have been deal-breakers for us: the San Diego Airport landing path is nearby, so there is a possibility that you will hear planes during your ceremony (not super loud, but in the background); open flames are not allowed (e.g. sparklers for grand exit, ceremony unity candle, or reception candles without at least a side covering of a couple of inches above the flame are not permitted); choosing a venue like the JDG that does not offer all rentals, catering, lighting, etc. as a package, can be a bit stressful and less cost-effective than say, a hotel venue that offers it all. Despite these "drawbacks", we got so many compliments on how beautiful the wedding was, and we didn't really devote much of our budget to the decor - the garden really speaks for itself and is a beautiful, natural gem that kids to grandparents can enjoy and appreciate...that's not to say that you can't dress is up to match your own taste and style - it's perfect if you're looking for something carte-blanche! Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
Japanese Friendship Garden responded with the following comments:

Thank you for that kind review Christine! We are all thrilled that you enjoyed your wedding! We hope you're loving married life!

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2215 Pan American Road East, San Diego, CA 92101 See On Map
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