About The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix
The Japanese Friendship Garden, named Rohoen (鷺鳳園), is a joint project of the City of Phoenix and our Sister City Himeji, Japan. Himeji Mayor, Matsuji Totani proposed the garden in 1987 to cement the bonds of friendship between Japan and the United States and particularly between the peoples of Himeji and Phoenix.
The Himeji Gardening and Construction Contractors Association was formed for the specific purpose of designing and constructing the garden. In the ensuing years, the group has made dozens of visits to select the site, investigate soil and climactic conditions, determine suitable plantings, select rock, and oversee construction details.
The teahouse and surrounding tea garden were completed in November 1996, the 20th anniversary of our Sister City relationship. The project features a stroll garden, tea garden, and a dry garden. All the decorative features that you see in the garden and the thousands of hours required to design and guide its construction are gifts from the City of Himeji and its citizens.
Our Mission & Vision
To provide a beautiful place of serenity, peace, education, and cultural engagement.
• Authenticity – Sharing the essence of a Japanese garden
• Tranquility – Creating space for serenity
• Beauty – Inspiring through nature and art
• Education – Building cultural connections through engagement and learning
• Tradition – Honoring Japanese history and culture
• Quality – Ensuring mindful attention to detail
• Community – Engaging with our neighbors and partners
• Hospitality/Omotenashi – Caring deeply for every relationship
The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, Rohoen, is an authentic 3.5 acre Japanese Stroll Garden with a tea garden and a tea house. This tranquil and beautiful setting features more than 1,500 tons of hand-picked rock, stone foot bridges, lanterns and more than 85 varieties of plants. As you stroll the path, you will enjoy flowing streams, a 14-foot waterfall, and a koi pond with over 300 colorful Koi fish.
Our Name - Rohoen
The devoted and friendly relationship between the Sister Cities of Phoenix and Himeji, Japan is reflected in the name chosen by its creators.
鷺 Ro - Japanese word for Heron, a symbol of Himeji City. Shira Sagi Jou, or the White Heron, is the name of the famous Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
鳳 Ho - Japanese word for the mythical Phoenix bird.
園 En - Japanese word for Garden.
Our Sister City - Himeji
Himeji became a Phoenix Sister City in November 1976 and is one of ten Sister Cities around the globe. Phoenix and Himeji participate in business, governmental, cultural and educational exchanges that promote international goodwill and understanding. The Garden is the shared cultural vision of the cities of Phoenix and Himeji.
Our Design - Hide & Reveal
Rohoen's stroll garden was designed by Mr. Nozomu Okita in the traditional miegakure (見え隠れ) style. Miegakure or hide-and-reveal design, is prevalent in Japanese stroll gardens where the entirety of the garden is never visible at once. Instead, the viewer is led to uncover intentionally hidden sights and sounds of the landscape while strolling along its curved paths.
Our Board- A Non-profit Organization
The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization governed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is an integral part of the organization. They oversee the performance of maintenance, funding, and program development of the Garden.
The Garden operates in a large part through the support of community. Please see: Make a donation, Plant donations, Become a volunteer, or Become a member, to explore the many ways you can help the Garden grow!