Back in April, before the insufferable summer heat showed up, we visited the Japanese Friendship Garden in the heart of downtown Phoenix. When I say it’s in the heart of downtown I really mean that. Built over the I-10 freeway and in-between skyscrapers, the garden is a peaceful sanctuary that is easy to access. Even though it isn’t very big, the garden packs a punch. The designers incorporated elements from all of the varying terrain in Japan; grasslands, mountains, rivers, and waterfalls. You can buy a bag of fish food and watch the koi swim over one another to nibble at the food. There is even a turtle family swimming in the pond and sunning on the rocks. They offer weekly tea ceremonies and cultural events throughout the year. I’m looking forward to visiting this fall and winter. If you’re ever visiting Phoenix we’ll have to go together!