Grandparents on the Go

Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden

Grandparents on the Go
By Cathy Droz and Cathy Burford


‘Konnichiwa’ means hello in Japanese.  You will definitely want to say hello to the Japanese Friendship Garden, a tranquil little slice of Japan right in downtown Phoenix!  Open to the public since 2002, this beautifully created garden, combining the best designs for peace and tranquility, is just steps away from the bustling, vibrant center of the city.  It is located adjacent to Margaret T. Hance Park, giving it an additional buffer from the surrounding area.  The Sister Cities of Phoenix and Himeji, Japan set out on a journey in 1988 to create this authentic Japanese stroll garden.  It now exists for all of us to enjoy.


As a first-time visitor, I decided to make it a full ‘Japan Day’ with my granddaughter, so that she would have a better understanding of Japanese culture.  We began at the public library, where we checked out some age-appropriate non-fiction, and a ‘Little Travelers’ DVD on Japan.  Armed with this background information, we arrived at the Japanese Friendship Garden ready to capture some of the tranquility of Japan.  We were warmly greeted at the office, and leisurely strolled over the bridges, along the paths that border the immense pond, next to the Tea House, and beside the brooks and waterfalls. This place will certainly transport you to a mindset of calm serenity, even if your grandchild is chastising the ducks for ‘stealing’ the fish’s food. One could spend the better part of an hour here, just feeding and observing the beautifully colorful koi.


You will want to check their website before you plan your visit, as they have many special events that you may want to plan around.  They offer a traditional Tea Ceremony on the second Saturday of the month, and participate in Artlink during First Fridays. In the works is a Children’s Day & Anime Drawing Contest, information will be on the website soon.    In addition, this beautiful space is available for private rentals, private tours, and school and group tours. After our garden visit, we folded some origami dogs, played with the bargains that we found in the gift shop, and ate noodles with chopsticks at a nearby Japanese restaurant.  When we returned home, we truly felt that we had travelled to Japan and back!


If You Go:

Japanese Friendship Garden

1125 N 3rd Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85003


October – May

Tues – Fri 10-3

Sat – Sun 10-4 (Closed Mondays)

Admission: Adults $5.; 62+, Military & Students $4; Children 6 and under FREE