Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden
2215 Pan American Rd E
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 232-2721
View their website

Average Base Cost: $32,000

Average base cost for a Japanese Friendship Garden wedding is calculated by figuring a 125-person guest list on a Saturday night using the Full Room Lower Garden rental option for 8 hours and a food/beverage cost of $150/pp. Transportation to venue, entertainment, decorations, additional rentals, valet, DJ, and photography are not included. Average price includes gratuity and state sales tax. Price is rounded up to the nearest thousand.

*Prices subject to change

How it Breaks Down

Facility Rental Fee: 

Monday – Thursday (3 hour minimum)

Friday & Sunday (3 hour minimum)

  • Lower Garden:
    • Full Room – $750/hour
    • Half Room – $650/hour
  • Upper Garden:
    • $500/hour


  • Lower Garden:
    • 6 hour minimum
    • Full Room – $850/hour
    • Half Room – $750/hour
  • Upper Garden:
    • 3 hour minimum
    • $600/hour

See example quotes for the Upper Garden here, and the Lower Garden here, as well as one below for a Ceremony and Reception:

Example Ceremony and Reception Cost:

Recommended at least 7 hours. Maximum 9 hours.

Most popular rental: 8 hours
(3pm set up, 5pm guests in, 5:30-6pm ceremony, 6-7pm cocktails, 7-11pm reception, 11pm-12am clean up)
Full Room (recommended for 80+ guests) & Half Room (recommended for 80 or fewer guests)

  • Saturday: $6800 (Full Room)
  • Friday or Sunday: $6000 (Full Room)
  • Monday – Thursday: $5600 (Full Room)

    Saturday: $6000 (Half Room)
    Friday or Sunday: $5200 (Half Room)
    Monday – Thursday: $4800 (Half Room)

  • Membership: $60
  • Security Staff: $450
  • Pavilion Fee: $450 (Full Room), $225 (Half Room)
  • Security & Cleaning Deposit: $800 (refundable)

Total for Saturday (Full Room): $8560 ($800 is refundable deposit)
Total for Friday or Sunday (Full Room): $7760 ($800 is refundable deposit)
Total for Monday – Thursday (Full Room): $7360 ($800 is refundable deposit)

Total for Saturday (Half Room): $7535 ($800 is refundable deposit)
Total for Friday or Sunday (Half Room): $6735 ($800 is refundable deposit)
Total for Monday – Thursday (Half Room): $6335 ($800 is refundable deposit)

What’s Included:

  • Exclusive access to all outdoor spaces in either the Upper Garden or Lower Garden
  • 30 minutes for Upper Garden and 1 hour for Lower Garden of free set up with minimum rental
  • 1 hour of rehearsal time for wedding ceremonies
  • JFG Event Staff support during the scheduled event
  • 1 hour photoshoot time prior to the event
  • A separate free 3 hour period for market light set up


Lower Garden Add-Ons/Additional Fees

  • Refundable Security Deposit* = $800
  • Pavilion Fee (Half or Full Room) = $225-$450
  • Security Staff** = $450
  • Wood Chairs (215) = $3.50/each
  • Chair relocation = $.50/each
  • 60’’ Round Tables (20) = $10/each
  • 30″ Belly Bars (10) = $10/each
  • 6’ Rectangular Tables (5) = $8/each
  • Rectangular Linens (limited) = $10/each
  • Projector & Screen = $100
  • P.A. System with Microphone = $75-$200
  • Japanese Shoji Screen (3) = $50/each pair
  • Early Bridal Room (8 a.m. earliest) = $30/hr

Upper Garden Add-Ons/Additional Fees

  • Refundable Security Deposit* = $500
  • Exhibit Hall = $120/hour
  • Security Staff** = $330
  • White Chairs (190) = $2.50/each
  • Chair relocation = $.50/each
  • 6’ Rectangular Tables (15) = $8/each
  • Rectangular Linens (limited) = $10/each
  • Projector & Screen = $100
  • P.A. System with Microphone = $75 – $200
  • Early Bridal Room (8 a.m. earliest) = $50/hr

*Refundable Security and Cleaning Deposit is required.

**Security Staff required for receptions. Set up/break down of rentals included in fee.

Additional fee of $.50/ea for second set up/relocation within venue.

Food/Beverage: Private Event Rental clients are required to choose from from JFG’s Preferred Caterers list, along with their contact information (page 14). Desserts can be from any vendor. Alcohol must be served by a licensed & insured beverage service.

More Stats

Space Type: Inside/Outside

For weddings held in the Upper Garden, ceremonies take place at either the Koi Pond or Ceremony Gates, followed by cocktails at whichever space wasn’t used. Then, the reception is held in the open air reception Plaza.

Couples who opt for the Lower Garden have their ceremony at Earth Bridge or the Courtyard, followed by cocktails on the deck and paths, and then their reception in Inamori Pavilion (pictured below) with doors that open onto the deck over the Koi Pond and a waterfall.

Size: Up to 350 people depending on the nature of event. For wedding ceremonies, 250 people max, and for seated dining, 250-300 max. Events with more free flow between spaces (ie. proms, corporate cocktail parties) can fit up to 350 people.

Bridal Suite: Yes, in both spaces


  • Upper Garden
    • Lots of free public parking
  • Lower Garden:
    • Free 27 spot private lot
    • Lots of free public parking, but a little further walk (many rent a small shuttle)

Food Service Type: Your choice

How Will Grandma Get There? The garden is located in San Diego’s Balboa Park and is approximately 15 minutes from San Diego International Airport. Directions and information about public transportation — including the free Balboa Park tram — can be found here. There are also a number of nearby hotels for overnight guests, including the 5-star Pendry which is a 13 minute drive away.

via Jen + Shane Photography
via Jen + Shane Photography

Party On! 

  • Set up may begin as early as 3:30 pm in the Upper Garden & 3:00 pm in the Lower Garden
  • Earliest guest entry is 5:00 pm
  • All Events must end by 12:00 a.m.
  • Clean up must be complete by 1:00 a.m. for UG and 1:30 a.m. for LG

Suggested Hours

  • Wedding Ceremony only: 3 hours
  • Ceremony & Reception: 7-9 hours
  • Reception only: 6-8 hours

Important Note: Japanese Friendship Garden membership is required to host event at the Garden. Memberships start at $60. To officially reserve an event date the client(s) must submit:

  • Signed Event Contracts
  • Security Staffing Fee
  • JFG Membership Fee
  • 50% of the hourly rental rate

The Report

Tucked away in the heart of San Diego’s historic Balboa Park, the garden boasts accents like lush trees and tall bamboo. JFG also features winding pathways and authentic Japanese garden features, including koi ponds, waterfalls, bonsai, cherry trees and wisteria arbors. The site is divided into two primary sections, each with distinct areas to host both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and receptions.

Woman Getting Married Says

This venue is a bit of a hidden gem in San Diego, which is one of our favorite California cities for a destination wedding. San Diego is so much easier to navigate than Los Angeles, and it has a calmness to it that venues like this definitely help invoke. I would opt for the Lower Garden option here, keeping the guest list on the smaller side (under 150) to keep it intimate and special. While I don’t love the carpet in the Inamori Pavilion, I think you can have fun transforming the look/feel of it. When it comes to decor I would definitely try incorporating similar flowers and plants (and overall theme) from the surrounding area, and don’t be afraid to add color!

Click here to learn more about my wedding venue review process

via Dominic Nepomuceno
via Dominic Nepomuceno

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Amenities/What’s Included 7
Convenient for Grandma 8
Layout 8
Location 10
Overall Charm 8
Venue Value 8

WGM Rating

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  1. says: SD Bride

    Prices have more than doubled since this was posting, and there is less included than there was at the time. Lower garden is now $1400/hour and the pavilion is an additional charge.