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Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego’s 13th annual Cherry Blossom Festival

Location: 2215 Pan American Way E
Date and Time: March 9 through March 11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Age Restrictions: All ages welcome
Ticket Cost: From free entry to $12 per person

Early every spring, the people of Japan take to the streets to watch as the cherry blossoms appear on trees, open and fall to the ground. This custom is called hanami, or the cherry blossom festival. The word hanami doesn’t just mean festival, however. It has more to do with appreciating the beauty and transience of flowers, like cherry blossoms. The time of cherry blossoms is a time to reflect on life, on beauty and on the nature of time.

For one weekend each year, you can experience the beauty and tranquility of this tradition right here in San Diego. The Japanese Friendship Garden has planted dozens of beautiful cherry trees, which are ready to bloom in only a few short weeks. The 13th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival will feature cherry trees in bloom, Japanese street foods, cultural performances and even Japanese beer, tea and sake (rice wine).

Natural Beauty with a Street Fair Atmosphere

Due to the incredible popularity of this festival, last year was the first time that the Japanese Friendship Garden extended the festival to three full days. With more than 12,000 people arriving to visit the gardens and experience hanami, there’s little doubt that this expansion was a roaring success.

In addition to enjoying the colors of the blossoms, you can stroll through an outside market, full of more than 40 unique vendors. There will be arts, foods, jewelry and much more. There will also be live performances by musicians, singers and dancers. There will be a wide range of talent performing, from J-pop artists to traditional drumming and even martial arts presentations.

Secure Tickets Now for an Increasingly Popular Event

There are plenty of social events and special things happening throughout March, but the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival is certainly one of the most memorable. It’s a great opportunity to explore another culture, enjoy a romantic day with someone special or educate your children about the world.

If you’d like to bypass the general admission line the day of the event, you can purchase pre-sale tickets online here for a flat charge of $12 per person.


There will be express entry for people with pre-sale tickets through the bamboo gate. If you prefer to wait for general admission, the cost will be $10 for adults, $8 for students, active military members and seniors over the age of 65. Children age six and under can get in free.