Japanese Friendship Garden – A Place of Beauty and Tranquility in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona.

In the heart of downtown Phoenix is a serene and beautiful Japanese garden. This 3.5 acre Japanese Stroll Garden is named RoHoEn and was created to honor the relationship between the Sister Cities of Phoenix and Himeji, Japan. Conceived in 1987, after a decade of engineering and development, the garden opened with flowing streams, a waterfall, and a Koi pond. Upon the 20th Anniversary of the relationship between the two sister cities in 1996, the gardens and a tea house were opened for visitors.

Friendship Garden-4

With the city all around the 3.5-acre garden, you would think it would be difficult to lose sight of the fact that you are in a major metropolitan downtown, but one visit will convince you otherwise. You soon get lost in the sights, sounds, and smells of this beautiful garden.

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On a spring day in late March, we visited the gardens armed with my Sony point-and-shoot camera. As we walked through the garden, I captured a few snapshots of the features. After our visit last year, you can bet that we will be back just to stroll through the gardens and enjoy some time for reflection and meditation.

Photographers need to be aware that there is a strictly enforced policy involving commercial photography or even amateur photography that uses even a tripod or that involves the structured posing of people being photographed. The garden’s policy offers reserved times and charges a fee for things like wedding photography, family or group photos, etc.

Friendship Garden-3

The policy makes allowances for social media, however, and it is under this guidance that I am sharing these images. From their Photo Policy page here: Still, we recognize that people like to take pictures, and everyone has a high-quality camera in his/her pocket nowadays. We love seeing guests tag us on social media; however, anything beyond a quick snap is subject to review by our Garden staff.

For details on visiting the garden, you can check out their website here. Admission at this writing is $10 or less depending upon your category. Children under 7 are free.

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To view any of these images in 2K HD, click on one. From there you can scroll through the album, or you can go directly to the album on Flickr here.

John Steiner


  1. These are beautiful John – it’s hard to beat a Japanese garden for tranquillity, isn’t it? I’m a little surprised at the stringency of the photo restrictions. No tripods makes perfect sense as you can easily imagine that people would damage plants and other features with them. But no posing of friends in front of the views? Not that I would, as I don’t tend to take that sort of shot, but I can’t see the harm it would do. And who is to say where the line should be drawn between ‘a quick snap’ and a more considered composition?

    • I understand and agree. I kept my actual shots to “quick snaps”, but in the spirit of the garden’s contemplative purpose, I did contemplate my compositions in my mind and finished any crops in post.
      It was actually a nice exercise in composition in my mind rather than in the viewfinder.

  2. Japanese gardens can be found all over the world, and it is only fair for all the art that the Japanese have put into these complex compositions that seem so simple. I remember for instance moss gardens around temples, moss!

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