Ro Ho En is beautiful even when the temps are soaring in summer.
Photo by japanesefriendshipgarden.org

Step into a slice of Japan at this exquisitely maintained 3.5-acre garden. It was built in the ’90s and early 2000s as a representation of the link between Phoenix and its Sister City of Himeji, Japan. In fact, its official name, Ro Ho En, comes from RO, the Japanese word for Heron — the symbol of Himeji City; HO, the Japanese word for the Phoenix bird; and EN, the Japanese word for garden.

The garden features a 12-foot waterfall that feeds streams and a pond with more than 300 koi. You will also see cherry trees, a stone garden, a tea garden, a tea house with Japanese-style architecture and other Japanese flora and landscape features, many of which were gifts from Himeji City.

The garden plays host to regular events, such as Tai Chi, Yoga and tea ceremonies, along with seasonal events like the Moonviewing Festival and a spring celebration. Individuals and companies can rent the garden or tea house for weddings, photography and other events.

Show up during open hours for a self-guided tour, or Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a public guided tour. Private tours are available by reservation Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: 1125 N. 3rd Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, October 1 to May 31
Cost:
Admission: $5; $4 seniors, military and students; Free for children under 6. Free on the first Friday of the month, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Guided tours: $8; $7 seniors.
Website: www.japanesefriendshipgarden.org

– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org