We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A quiet experience”

Japanese Friendship Garden
Ranked #36 of 232 things to do in Phoenix
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: We are a traditional Japanese stroll garden in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. We are 501(c)3 non profit organization in cooperation with the city of Phoenix and Phoenix Sister Cities Organization. The garden was designed and built by garden master designer "Mr. Nozomu Okita" with the cooperation of Phoenix Sister City Himeji garden association. This truly unique point of pride sits on 3.5 acres and includes a traditional Tea House. The Tea House is open once per month for tea ceremonies, by reservation only by contacting the office. This tranquil and beautiful setting features more than 1,500 tons of hand-picked rock, stone footbridges, lanterns and more than 50 varieties of plants. As you stroll the path, you will enjoy flowing streams, a 14-foot waterfall, and a Koi pond with over 1,000 colorful Koi fish. The garden hosts a variety annual artistic and educational special events and programs. Please see our website and Facebook page.
Reviewed 12 August 2014

Maybe even zen, though it isn't a rock and sand garden. This garden was constructed as a collaboration between the city of Phoenix and its sister city, Himeji, Japan. It is also called Ro Ho En.

It features a very large koi pond with a zigzag bridge over it, with beautiful shocking pink water lilies in season, and a few ducks. It also has a tea house, and tea ceremonies are sometimes celebrated there. It has several small waterfalls, and one fairly tall one. The tall one is in shadow in the afternoon.

Throughout, the gardening style is totally Japanese, and the plants chosen survive well in the desert, but are still similar to the plants that would be seen in a Japanese garden in Japan.

They have many, many lovely views, and if you want to get the most out of it, it is important to linger and look and take in a well composed scene, and to walk slowly and wander. Only one bush was in flower when I was there. It is closed during the hot months of the year. That would be May through September. Admission is quite reasonable.

There is a gift shop and restrooms. They are proud of the fixtures in the restrooms, which were specially designed for the garden. They are sleek and pleasing. The buildings are also Japanese style.

I have been there several times, and it just keeps improving, as the plants grow bigger and they work on it. They shape some of the trees, but for the most part, you can't tell they're doing it. You can just see the excellent results.

There are rules for photographers. If you are a commercial photographer, they expect you to pay an extra fee. This would mostly cover wedding photography, and this is the perfect setting for it. The rules are a little hard to understand, but if you simply take photos of the garden itself and sell them on an art site or something, I don't think they would care. But use caution. I don't sell my photos from the garden; I just display them.

I will definitely want to return periodically and see how much more beautiful it has become. Obviously, this is not one of your very large city gardens, nor is it one in Japan, but it is still quite beautiful, and fully in character.

5  Thank Pat G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (253)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
  • More languages

194 - 198 of 253 reviews

Reviewed 11 August 2014

A wonderful, beautiful destination for an outing. Whether you're visiting Phoenix, or you're looking for a quiet place to take the family for a weekend stroll, I recommend the Japanese Friendship Garden.

It is a beautiful garden filled with cultural information. It is quiet, even when there are lots of people, and it is very peaceful and relaxing.

While we were strolling, we stumbled upon wedding photography. It's a great destination for that too.

1  Thank Travel_Lady157
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2014 via mobile

Had a great time at this park with my husband. We took a lot great photos together. Feed the fish and sat on the grass enjoying what I refer to as mini oasis in phoenix. I would say this is a great place for yound adults and adult. It's a relaxing setting. We found the earlier the better less people.

2  Thank RiotMaker88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2014

We stumbled across this and were pleasantly surprised.
Minimal costs and relaxing, even though it is downtown. Peaceful shady retreat to explore - even our teens enjoyed feeding the koi.

1  Thank kar352
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2014 via mobile

I didnt want to go here at first. 5$ and a ton of coy fish. I ended up staying for about an hour. The ducks (especially the babies) were my favorite. If you like giant coy fish and a garden, this is your place.

5  Thank StefanieAGS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Japanese Friendship Garden also viewed

Phoenix, Central Arizona
Phoenix, Central Arizona
Phoenix, Central Arizona

Been to Japanese Friendship Garden? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing