Phoenix's Japanese Friendship Garden

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Seeing all the people walking around in Yukatas in downtown Phoenix  this weekend, you'd think you were in Japan. These folks were attending the Phoenix Japanese Friendship Garden's annual fundraising event called "Strolling in Yukata."

The event took place in the beautifully manicured Ro Ho En garden, off Third Avenue and Portland Street in downtown Phoenix. Ro Ho En is a combination of three Japanese words. Ro means heron, a bird symbol of Himeji City, a Phoenix Sister City and home to 50 of the landscape architects who helped build the garden. Ho is the Japanese word for the city of mythical Phoenix bird. En means garden.

Attendees strolled the gardens, ate bento box meals and were entertained by a Japapnese opera singer and a mask-changing dancer. All this, while walking around in yukatas, which is an informal type of kimono dress.

The garen is 3.5acres and is visually apppealing with over 50 different plants, colorful koi-filled ponds, stone bridges and cascading waterfalls. One participant at the festival described being at the garden as, "being on a little vacation."

Admission to the garden is $5 for adults and $4 for students, military, seniors and children 7 and older. Children 6 and younger get in free when accompanied by an adult.

If you're interested in visiting or would like more information aboutu Phoenix's Japanese Friendship Garden, visit www.japanesefriendshipgarden.org.

Himeji became a Phoenix Sister City in November 1976 and is one of nine Sister Cities around the globe.