Visiting the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix with kids will involve a 3.5-acre stroll garden including a 12-foot waterfall, a koi pond with over 300 Koi fish, and a chance to experience a taste of an authentic Japanese garden.
It’s worth noting from the beginning that this is not the typical botanical garden that you may expect. Japanese gardens are more about the experience, the beautifully sculpted trees, and bushes, reflecting, and bringing serenity and nature into otherwise crowded lives. There were a few flowers in bloom, including a variety of cherry blossoms, during our visit. But the majority of the garden is a beautiful mix of water, grass, stone, and an ascetically pleasing landscape. Preparing children for this different type of experience will help them appreciate the garden more.
Things to do at the garden
The garden stroll will take around 30 minutes. And we recommend walking it twice! Kids will be drawn to the pond, of course, and there are a couple of corners on the stone bridges that the koi gather. The waterfall to is beautiful. The green grass is a welcome oasis in the desert. We also loved how shaded the majority of the path was! (Look for the textured section of the path.)
You’ll be given a map at the entrance, and this also has information about each area of the garden, sometimes with Japanese words/meanings. Be sure to read these descriptions aloud to children and discuss them, as it’s another great way to enhance your visit.
Bonus: next to the garden is Margaret T. Hance Park, which offers a fabulous playground. Stop by for playtime and a picnic after visiting the garden!
The Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix is currently open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm (last entry at 3:30pm). Admission is $10/adult, $7/students, and 6 and under are free. Masks are currently required. Parking is free, restrooms are on site as well. Check their website for current information on tea ceremonies and other events as well.
Japanese Friendship Garden
1125 N. 3rd Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ 85003