Japanese Friendship Garden
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Dorothy, we’re not in Phoenix anymore. The tranquil Japanese Friendship Garden (1125 N. 3rd Ave., 602/256-3204, www.japanesefriendshipgarden.org, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Tues.–Sun., closed Jun.–Aug., $5 adults, $3 children) is a pleasant contrast to the desert cityscape that surrounds it, with some 50 varieties of plants, flowing streams, a koi pond, and a 12-foot waterfall. This joint effort between Phoenix and its sister city, Himeji, Japan, is tucked into the southwestern end of Margaret T. Hance Deck Park (on top of the I-10 freeway tunnel, between Central and 3rd Avenues).
Enter through the bamboo gate and follow the pathway through the perfectly manicured grounds, which feature yellow and purple irises, lush water lilies, and artfully placed boulders. Some allowances for the desert climate have been made, like the neatly trimmed bonsai trees that are shaped from hardy olive trees.
You can join a tea ceremony the second Saturday of the month during regular public hours, though reservations are required for the $20 teahouse experience.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition