The Japanese Friendship Garden, named RoHoEn, 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, a stone garden, and a courtyard garden. All of the decorative features that you see in the garden and the hundreds of thousands of hours required to design and guide its construction are gifts from the City of Himeji and its citizens.
Our Mission & Vision
The mission of the Japanese Friendship Garden, Inc. is to maintain a beautiful, serene Japanese garden in the heart of Phoenix and provide educational and artistic programs and events that continue to deepen our relationships and celebrate the rich history and culture of Japan.
To provide a place of beauty and tranquility as an escape from the everyday pressures of life, for meditation and relaxation and to enrich and restore the body, mind and spirit.
To encourage the citizens of Phoenix, Himeji, and people from around the world to enjoy the experience of an authentic Japanese stroll garden.
To promote the education, understanding, and appreciation of the Japanese culture and its rich history and traditions.
To foster a lasting friendship between the citizens and governments of the Sister Cities of Phoenix and Himeji.
To facilitate a positive public/private partnership with the cities of Phoenix and Himeji for the promotion, operation, and maintenance of the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.
To recognize the generous contributions of time, money, and gifts from the citizens and governments of Phoenix and Himeji, especially the architects and contractors of Himeji.
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 50 varieties of plants. As you stroll the path, you will enjoy flowing streams, a 12-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 bird symbol of Himeji City. Shira Sagi Jou, or the White Heron, is a 300-year-old medieval castle in Himeji.
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 nine 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 (見隠) 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 views 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 - performance of maintenance, funding, and program development of the Garden. See more here: Board of Directors.
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!