Photo tour of Japanese Friendship Garden canyon.

Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden in beautiful Balboa Park carefully step across a stream that flows through a lush canyon.
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden in beautiful Balboa Park carefully step across a stream that flows through a lush canyon.

A few days ago I took you on a short photo tour of the upper level of the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. You can find that here. Now we follow our docent tour guide down a gently sloping path into the large canyon expansion below.

Of course, a few quick photos don’t really convey the profound beauty and tranquility of this place. And my understanding of the garden is quite limited. While our tour guide spoke of the garden’s careful creation, its tending, and the meaning of its elements, I was so absorbed in the surrounding beauty that I took only a few notes. Please read the photo captions, and forgive me for not knowing more. I’m still learning.

Gazing down from an overlook into the canyon expansion of the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego. This large section of the garden opened in 2015.
Gazing down from an overlook into the canyon expansion of the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego. This large section of the garden opened in 2015.
Before heading into the canyon, our docent tour guide talks a little about what we will see below.
Before heading into the canyon, our docent tour guide talks a little about what we will see below.
Beautiful handle on the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate which leads into the canyon.
Beautiful handle on the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate which leads into the canyon.
After stepping through the gate, the docent shows us a black pine. This one is being trained with a bamboo splint to assume an aesthetically beautiful shape.
After stepping through the gate, the docent shows us a black pine. This one is being trained with a bamboo splint to assume an aesthetically beautiful shape.
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden head down a path that leads from the Upper Garden into the Lower Garden. The winding path is a journey of discovery.
Visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden head down a path that leads from the Upper Garden into the Lower Garden. The winding path is a journey of discovery.
Here we are, just walking along, feeling at peace, surrounded by so much natural beauty.
Here we are, just walking along, feeling at peace, surrounded by so much natural beauty.
Trees provide shade and fluttering leaves; a bench near a stone lantern allows for rest and meditation.
Trees provide shade and fluttering leaves; a bench near a stone lantern allows for rest and meditation.
We have arrived at the Dragon Bridge, where a serpentine dry waterfall creates the impression of flowing water.
We have arrived at the Dragon Bridge, where a serpentine dry waterfall creates the impression of flowing water.
The carefully-placed white stones in the dry waterfall were imported. But the yellowish boulders on top were found in the canyon. A Japanese garden must contain an element of what is native.
The carefully-placed white stones in the dry waterfall were imported. But the yellowish boulders on top were found in the canyon. A Japanese garden must contain an element of what is native.
One of three highly-prized cloud-like trees placed near the dry waterfall. Every part of the garden has been designed with the greatest attention to detail.
One of three highly-prized cloud-like trees placed near the dry waterfall. Every part of the garden has been designed with the greatest attention to detail.
Now we walk into an area full of cherry trees. In spring, if the preceding winter had a sufficiently cold period, the grove of 160 trees becomes magical with cherry blossoms.
Now we walk into an area full of cherry trees. In spring, if the preceding winter had a sufficiently cold period, the grove of 160 trees becomes magical with cherry blossoms.
Walking slowly along a winding path through the cherry tree grove. It's a November day in San Diego. But the Japanese Friendship Garden is beautiful in every season.
Walking slowly along a winding path through the cherry tree grove. It’s a November day in San Diego. But the Japanese Friendship Garden is beautiful in every season.
Approaching a second bridge where there is a pond and a turtle-shaped small rock island.
Approaching a second bridge where there is a pond and a turtle-shaped small rock island.
Our tour guide shows us a bamboo deer chaser, or shishi odoshi. You might recall that we saw another in the garden's upper level.
Our tour guide shows us a bamboo deer chaser, or shishi odoshi. You might recall that we saw another in the garden’s upper level.
Crossing the low bridge as bright water ripples gently past.
Crossing the low bridge as bright water ripples gently past.
The rock with a bent shape at the bottom of the small waterfall represents a salmon, which like we human beings fights to move upstream, against difficult currents.
The rock with a bent shape at the bottom of the small waterfall represents a salmon, which like we human beings fights to move upstream, against difficult currents.
We walk along the artificial stream. Many flowers can be seen here in spring, including azaleas and camellias.
We walk along the artificial stream. Various flowers can be seen here at different times of the year, including azaleas and camellias.
A tranquil scene at the Japanese Friendship Garden. There are five bridges, each with its own distinct character.
A tranquil scene at the Japanese Friendship Garden. There are five bridges, each with its own distinct character.
Sitting on a shady bench.
Sitting on a shady bench.
Now we are walking past an ornate Nara period Japanese stone lantern.
Now we are walking past an ornate Nara period Japanese stone lantern.
We come to the elegant Inamori Pavilion, which is used for special exhibits and events. The Sukiya-style building has a moat full of koi. The viewing deck, or engawa, looks out at a waterfall.
We come to the elegant Inamori Pavilion, which is used for special exhibits and events. The Sukiya-style building has a moat full of koi. The viewing deck, or engawa, looks out at a waterfall.
Gazing out at the sparkling waterfall and a bridge just beyond it.
Gazing out at the sparkling waterfall and a bridge just beyond it.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is treasured by many for its beauty, subtle wisdom, and serenity.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is treasured by many for its beauty, meaningful design, and serenity.
Photo of the beautiful Inamori Pavilion from nearby bridge.
Photo of the beautiful Inamori Pavilion from nearby bridge.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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