Shinzen Friendship Garden: A Place of Unity and Peaceful Serenity

Experience the beauty and serenity of the five-acre Shinzen Friendship Garden, an oasis of beauty and blossoms in Fresno’s Woodward Park, first developed to foster relationships with the Japanese community after WWII.

Following the war, the city of Fresno forged a relationship as a sister city with Kochi, Japan, the first steps toward building mutually beneficial friendships and teamwork. In 1967, the Shinzen Friendship Garden was envisioned, with the establishment of Woodward Park and the Woodward Park Japanese Development Committee, then led by Ben Nakamura.

Kodo Matsubara, Paul Saito and Shiro Nakagawa designed the gardens, in cooperation with the City of Fresno. A nonprofit Board of Trustees now manages and maintains the gardens.

Today, the Shinzen Friendship Garden features garden tours and viewings, cultural and community events, and educational opportunities.

Events include the Fall Festival, the breathtaking Spring Blossom Festival, and the enchanting Toro Nagashi Lantern Event in August, an ancient Buddhist ceremony with lit lanterns to represent lost loved ones.

Other attractions include the Spring Artists in the Garden Day, the Shinzen Run each September, a Fall Artists in the Garden day, the Fall Color Festival in November, and the Shinzen Cultural Faire, also in November.

Educational opportunities include workshops and classes in topics like aesthetic pruning and Japanese art and culture. Don’t miss viewing the display of over 100 unique bonsai plants in a living museum environment.

The Shinzen Friendship Garden was designed to provide beauty in all four seasons, with lush greenery and blooms in the summer, blossoms in the spring, a gorgeous spectrum of colorful trees in the fall, and stunning waterfalls and evergreens in the winter.

With its breathtaking scenery, the Shinzen Friendship Garden is the perfect setting for a wedding. Multiple locations are available throughout the garden for your special day, including the Ume Grove View area for a very small party of ten, or the Koi Pond/Waterfall View or Sago Forest/Waterfall View areas, each accommodating about 100 guests.

The garden is open daily from May through December, with other seasonal events showcased year-round. Admission is $3 for adults and only 50 cents for seniors and children, with free admission available to Shinzen Friendship Garden members.

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Next, soak up some sunshine and beauty with the Fresno County Blossom Trail in the spring.