The Japanese Friendship Garden located in Phoenix, Arizona is a little sanctuary of authentic Japanese culture and nature inside the city. It covers 3.5 acres and features over 1,500 tons of hand picked rocks, a large Koi pond full of colorful fish and ducks, over 50 varieties of plants, statues and a 12 foot waterfall. It also has a tea house popular for events.
(watch the video above in HD on Vimeo or on Youtube)
I spent a little over an hour at the garden, enjoying the serenity of the calm surroundings. For me, feeding the roughly 300 Koi fish in the 1/2 acre pond was the highlight of the garden. For $1.00 extra they give a bag of “fish food” which turned out to just be cheerios. The fish are quite entertaining and compete with the much faster ducks and each other for their meal.
The garden has a pathway that takes 10-15 minutes to walk around if you don’t stop to enjoy anything. I visited in late September when daytime temperatures were warm but not extreme and it was quite pleasant.
Named “Ro Ho En” was created to express the positive bond between the people of the United States and Japan. Phoenix has been the sister city to Himeji since 1976. In 1987 the Mayor of Himeji proposed the garden; and making 60 trips since then Himeji architects have shared in the garden’s creation, design and development.
If you’re patient and you sit still the Koi fish will breach the surface with their mouths and take food right out of your fingertips (they don’t bite). Watch the video below to see me feeding them by hand.
(watch the video above in HD here)
Admission was $5.00 per person.
More info at their official website: www.japanesefriendshipgarden.org