Training: Garden Ambassador ​Learn how to protect & promote RoHoEn as a volunteer!

Learn what you need to know to be an Ambassador Volunteer at the Japanese Friendship Garden! Ambassadors enhance visitor experience answering questions and giving directions for Garden etiquette while walking our lovely garden paths.

Training Menu:

Section 1: About RoHoEn



Our Mission & Vision​

The Japanese Friendship Garden, named RoHoEn  in Japanese, 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
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.
Our Vision
  • 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.

Read More About Our Sister City - Himeji, Japan


Our Garden

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

- the symbol of Himeji city. 

鳳 HO Japanese word for Phoenix

- the symbol of Phoenix city.

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 - performing maintenance, funding, and program development of the Garden.


See more here: Board of Directors

Our Volunteers- Our Community

The Garden operates in a large part through the support of our community. From maintaining all 3 acres of the land to greeting and engaging with guests during our operating hours, volunteers play many rewarding and important roles at RoHoEn. Donors and members often enjoy volunteering as well. 


See more here: Make a donation, Plant donations, or Become a member, to explore the many ways you can join our community in helping the Garden grow! 


Section 2: About Volunteering


​Our Volunteer Mission Statement

​& Code of Conduct

 Volunteer mission statement: 

Our Volunteers support JFG's mission by protecting the garden elements along our paths and promoting an authentic and informed understanding of Japanese gardens and culture. Volunteers do this through caring for the Garden physically, administratively and relationally by helping our guests explore the Garden, maintaining its pristine shapes and textures, welcoming, engaging and responding to our guest's curiosity and helping ensure that they leave having had an authentic and tranquil experience.


Volunteer Code of Conduct

JFG volunteers make decisions that affect our reputation every shift they spend in the Garden. We are grateful and honored that our volunteers so wonderfully improve and enhance that reputation. Because the individual actions of our volunteers at the Garden shape how our guests view Japan, Japanese culture, our sister city, and JFG, it is so important that we each take responsibility for the mission of the Japanese Friendship Garden and act with Integrity, objectivity, confidentiality and generally professional behavior while in service at JFG.

"JFG volunteers make decisions that affect our reputation every shift they spend in the Garden. We are grateful and honored that our volunteers so wonderfully improve and enhance that reputation."

Gardening Volunteers

Ambassador Volunteers

Special Event Volunteers
Office Volunteers

Tour Docents
Tea Tour Docents

Garden Interns

​Office Interns

Volunteer Roles

As a non-profit, the Japanese Friendship Garden honored to be fueled and supported by our dedicated volunteer team. Being an Ambassador is just one of the ways you can support the Garden while joining a community of people with similar interests.


This is a list of volunteer roles available at the Garden below. Many volunteers enjoy holding a few different roles with us. Contact the volunteer coordinator if you are interested in trying others out yourself!

  • Gardening Volunteers

  • Ambassador Volunteers

  • Special Event Volunteers

  • Office Volunteers

  • Tour Docents

  • Tea Tour Docents

  • Garden Interns

  • ​Office Interns


​Our Volunteer Benefits

Volunteer Benefits


JFG provides many benefits for our volunteers. Aside from the obvious benefits you will receive from simply spending time in the serene environment of the Garden, below are other ways JFG is dedicated to giving back to our greatly appreciated volunteer community.

Volunteer Membership

You will receive a Garden membership once you volunteer with the Garden regularly for 1 year. See our Membership benefits here

Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event

Join us for our annual volunteer appreciation event where we show you our gratitude for your hours and years as well as special projects.

Volunteer Goods

JFG Volunteer merchandise such as shirts, pins, or stickers, will be given out whenever available.

​Gift Ship Discount

Get a 10% discount on gift shop food, beverage and goods during your shift at the Garden. The gift shop staff will verify that you are either signed in for your shift or on the schedule for that day in order to give you the discount.


Receive awards for the highest hours in each role as well as longevity awards for number of years you have volunteered with us.

Volunteer Snack Bar

During events, volunteers will be provided with a volunteer designated rest area and snack bar with fresh fruit, snacks, drinks, etc. 


​Our Volunteer Enrichment Program


Ume Level

- Plum 梅

Level 1 Volunteer

Just like the plum is the first tree to blossom, being a new volunteer your knowledge and skilsl are just beginning to bud with plenty of space for new opportunities and exploration at the Garden.


​Take Level

- Bamboo 竹

Level 2 Volunteer

Just like bamboo, you have shot up and grown straight and tall into your role, gaining deeper knowledge and perspectives to help yourself and others understand and appreciate the Garden more fully.

​Matsu Level

- Pine 松

Level 3 Volunteer

Just like a pine, your roots have dug deep and made you a symbol of proven longevity and steadfastness in the pursuit of training and investment here at RoHoEn. Your cool, green needles have never faded to brown but instead remained vibrant throughout your time at the Garden.

Level System

There is a level system in traditional Japanese culture based on the "three friends of winter", the plum, bamboo and pine. Pine trees maintain their greenness even in the coldest winters, bamboo grows without crouching, and plums endure long winters, blooming even in the snow. In Japanese these three symbolic plants that do not wither through winter, together make a famous grouping called the Shōchikubai (松竹梅). 


In this three-tier ranking system the pine (matsu, 松) is the highest, followed by bamboo (take, 竹) as the middle, and plum (ume, 梅) as the basic level.  


Using this beloved trio here at RoHoEn, there are three levels iin our Enrichment program. 

  1. Ume (Plum) - Level 1 

  2. Take (Bamboo) - Level 2

  3. Matsu (Pine) - Level 3

How To Advance In Levels

Volunteers move up in level when they have taken enrichment courses and spent a certain number of hours volunteering with us.


Our Enrichment system is a combination of in-person workshops and online content that can further educate you on various subjects related to your volunteer role. You can receive in-depth training on Japanese culture, garden designs and techniques, history and myths as well as many intriguing traditional Japanese arts. 

Richard Newton of Let'sJapan described ShoChikuBai's symbolism beautifully: "These three “Friends of Winter” essentially provide an allegory for weathering hard times through their various attributes.  A pine tree’s roots are tenacious and will borrow deep, or, as need be, find their way to hold-fast on even the craggiest, rock-strewn outcropping.  They endure, no matter the circumstances.  Bamboo finds its strength in knowing how to give and bend without breaking when even the strongest winds blow.  In Japan the plum tree is the first to bud and blossom in the late winter, even when its limbs may remain snow-laden:  the plum gives us hope, showing us that spring and new opportunities for beauty and joy are just around the corner.  Strength and tenacity, the ability to bend but not break when adversity swirls around us, the promise of hope even when the cold won’t release its grasp on us.  The Three Friends of Winter, Sho-Chiku-Bai — 松竹梅 —  our three friends of winter." - Source 


​Our Volunteer Schedule & Hours


​Our Volunteer Policies & Procedures


Policies, procedures & acknowledgement


The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix (JFG) - RoHoEn strives to operate in an ethical manner, committed to values such as honesty, integrity, and trust. Our volunteer policies and code of conduct ensure that JFG's values are shared and upheld by all members of the organization. This document is designed to acquaint volunteers with information about the policies and procedures involved with volunteering at JFG. It is not all-inclusive but rather, is intended to provide volunteers with a summary of JFG’s guidelines.


Please check the Acknowledgement form provided at the end of these policies. If there is anything you do not understand or if you require further clarification, please contact your volunteer supervisor.


Equal Opportunity/Harassment Policy

JFG prohibits unlawful discrimination against volunteers based on age, race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, genetic information, or any other applicable status protected by state or local law. Unlawful harassment includes verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.  Prohibited behavior may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Written form such as cartoons, e-mails, posters, drawings, or photographs.

  • Verbal conduct such as epithets, derogatory comments, slurs, or jokes.

  • Physical conduct such as assault, or blocking an individual’s movements.

Sexual Harassment Policy

JFG strongly opposes sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual conduct.  Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Conduct which may violate this policy includes, but is not limited to, sexually implicit or explicit communications whether in:

  • Written form, such as cartoons, posters, calendars, notes, letters, e-mail.

  • Verbal form, such as comments, jokes, foul or obscene language of a sexual nature, gossiping, or questions about another’s sex life or repeated unwanted requests for dates.

  • Physical gestures and other nonverbal behavior, such as unwelcome touching, grabbing, fondling, kissing, massaging, and brushing up against another’s body.

ADA and Religious Accommodation Policy

JFG will make reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with known disabilities and volunteers whƒose work requirements interfere with a religious belief unless doing so would result in an undue hardship to JFG or a direct threat.


Complaint Procedure 

If you believe there has been a violation of the EO policy or harassment based on the protected classes outlined in this policy, including sexual harassment, please use the following complaint procedure. Report the incident to your supervisor who will investigate the matter and take corrective action.  Your complaint will be kept as confidential as practicable.


Complaint Resolution Procedure 

If a situation persists that you believe is detrimental to you or to JFG, you should follow the process outlined in the Equal Opportunity/Harassment policy above. If your complaint relates to day-to-day operations, such as work hours/environment, uniform issues, etc., please discuss these with your volunteer supervisor.


Drug-Free Workplace Policy

To ensure a safe and productive work environment JFG prohibits the use, sale, dispensation, manufacture, distribution, or possession of alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, or drug paraphernalia on any JFG Garden or Office areas. Any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including volunteer position termination.


Electronic Equipment Policy

To ensure that the use of electronic systems and business equipment is consistent with JFG legitimate business interests, authorized representatives of JFG may monitor the use of such equipment from time to time.

The following behaviors and activities are prohibited and considered improper use of the Internet, E-mail or voicemail systems provided by JFG: viewing pornography, obscene or offensive materials, copying, pirating or downloading software and electronic files without permission, sending or posting discriminatory, harassing, or threatening messages that defame or slander other individuals, etc. These examples are provided as guidelines only and are not all-inclusive.


Safety and Health Policy

JFG is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment. In this connection, JFG makes every effort to comply with relevant federal and state occupational health and safety laws and to develop the best feasible operations, procedures, technologies, and programs conducive to such an environment.

If you witness an accident involving a volunteer, employee, or guest, notify your Supervisor immediately.   Likewise, if you sustain any accidental injury at work, you must report the accident to your Supervisor or a member of management immediately.  The responsibility of all volunteers of JFG in this regard include:

  • Exercising maximum care and good judgment at all times to prevent accidents and injuries;

  • Wash thoroughly after handling any chemical substance;

  • Immediately reporting to Supervisors and seeking first-aid for all injuries;

  • Immediately reporting unsafe conditions, equipment, or practices to Supervisory personnel;

  • When required, using safety equipment provided by JFG; Observing conscientiously all safety rules and regulations at all times;

  • Notifying their Supervisors, before the beginning of each shift, of any medication they are taking, that may cause drowsiness or other side effects that could lead to injury to themselves, other volunteers, guests, or employees.

Workplace Violence Policy

JFG also will not condone any acts or threats of violence against JFG volunteers, employees, clients, vendors, suppliers, chartered clubs, or visitors on JFG premises at any time or while they are engaged in business with or on behalf of JFG, in the Garden or the office. JFG is committed to taking prompt and appropriate action up to and including termination, against any volunteer who engages in any threatening behavior or acts of violence or who uses any obscene, abusive, or threatening language or gestures. Such action may include notifying the police or other law enforcement personnel and prosecuting violators of this policy to the maximum extent of the law.


Attendance, punctuality, and absence without notice

Volunteers are expected to be regular and punctual in attendance. If you know you will be late, please contact the volunteer coordinator. If for any reason you must cancel your shift, please use the volunteer portal to cancel or, if for any reason you are unable to use the portal, please call or email the volunteer coordinator to notify them of your cancellation. This allows JFG to arrange for coverage of your duties and helps others continue to work in your absence. If a volunteer is not present for their  shift and JFG  is not notified for a total of 3 shifts, the volunteer’s access to the scheduling software may be suspended until further notice.


Voluntary or involuntary removal

Volunteers who do not adhere to the rules and procedures of JFG  are subject to dismissal. Possible grounds for dismissal may include but are not limited to: gross misconduct or insubordination, theft of property or misuse of organization materials, abuse or mistreatment of guests, staff or other volunteers, failure to abide by organization policies and procedures, and failure to satisfactorily perform assigned duties.


1. JFG  may at any time, for whatever reason, decide to terminate the volunteer's relationship with the agency.

2. The volunteer may at any time, for whatever reason, decide to sever their relationship with JFG.

3. Notice of such a decision should be communicated as soon as possible.

The primary role of our Garden Ambassadors is to protect and promote the Garden during normal admission hours. Helping guests appreciate the Garden from within the paths and not wondering off into the fragile plant life, while answering any simple RoHoEn questions they may have is the primary way that Ambassador's support us. If you are looking for a way to spend time in the beauty of our Garden as well as become an essential part of our volunteer community, Ambassador volunteering is for you!



After reading the above code of conduct and RoHoEn policies information please check below to acknowledge receipt of this information and compliance with its contents.

Section 1: About Gardening