Best Escape to Japan - 2008
Japanese Friendship Garden — Ro Ho En
Sakura, the Japanese word for "cherry blossom," holds an extremely important cultural significance in Japanese culture. Each spring, the sakura trees begin blooming in the southwest reaches of Japan and steadily move toward the northeast. During this time, it's popular for natives and tourists alike to buy a bottle of sake and partake in viewing the blooms before they vanish for another year.
If you're yearning for a similar Zen experience, look no further than the Japanese Friendship Garden. A symbol of friendship between Phoenix and her sister city Himeji in Japan, this garden is built on 3.5 acres on which 50 architects from Japan built the park over 60 trips since 1987. Although there aren't cherry trees here, purple leaf plums, Japanese maples, and evergreen pears are just a few of the desert-friendly trees that create shady spaces to relax. You won't find a more authentic Japanese experience anywhere else this side of the Pacific.