The Shinzen Friendship Garden is a traditional northwestern American Japanese Garden located in Woodward Park, Fresno, California. The Garden was constructed to honor Fresno’s Sister City, Kochi, Japan, celebrating the spirit of understanding and promoting educational and cultural awareness. We continue to be a part of the Sister City organization and appreciate the support Kochi has provided to Shinzen since our incorporation and dedication in 1981.

The beauty, grace and serenity of Japanese design is present in the use of varied plant material, rocks and stones, and water throughout the five acre garden. Shinzen is designed around the four seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter; granite markers identify each section.

The Garden is in partnership with the City of Fresno and the Parks, After School, Recreation and Community Service Department.

A few of the special features of Shinzen:

Mon Gate and Entry

At the entry of Shinzen are identifiers of this significant space for the Central Valley. On the entry ground is the design of a decorative millstone, signifying the location of the Garden in an agricultural area of California. The large wooden gate, Mon, is a gift from the City of Kochi, Japan. It was constructed to provide a protective barrier and to engage the visitor in anticipation of what was to been seen once the grand gate was open. Notice the metal leaf, chosen to represent the Thompson grape leaf, prominent in the valley where grape vineyards thrive. To the left of the gate is a Kasuga Lantern, one of 21 stone lanterns within the Garden.

Ume Grove

The Ume Grove is a one acre design element highlighting the beauty of the Japanese Ume tree, or apricot/plum tree and its graceful white and pink blossoms in late January and early February. The trees were donated by the Taira family of Fresno. Also featured in the Ume grove are wandering paths, waterfalls, a waiting structure called a tembo dai overlooking the pond, and a tsukubai basin or cleansing basin which here serves as a decorative element.

Double Moon Bridge

Arching over the Koi pond, leading the visitor up and over the wooden planks, one can see the double half-moon shapes and imagine a reflection in the water that would represent the full moon. Typical in Japanese gardens are ponds with bridges for which crossing over can represent the possibility of rebirth.

Tea Garden and Tea House

The tea garden was completed in 1989 with the tea house constructed in Kochi, Japan, installed in Shinzen and dedicated in June of 1990. It is a small and intimiate space, sitting within the tea garden along with a lantern and muted planting pattern. The tea house and tea garden have been undergoing restoration and renewal throughout 2015, preparing for the installation of a new roof in 2016.

Clark Bonsai Collection

In 2015, Shinzen became the host site for the Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF) Clark Bonsai Collection.  Donated by Willard and Libby Clark, this notable collection contains over 100 significant bonsai, managed and displayed within a beautiful hide and reveal stroll garden. This collection is one of three public collections of GSBF, the others being Lake Merritt, Oakland and The Huntington, Los Angeles.



(April 1 - September 30)

Week Days 4:00PM - 7:30PM

Weekends 10:00AM - 7:30PM



Saturday, Apr. 22, 9:00am – 4:30pm

Sunday, Apr. 23, 9:00am – 3:00pm

 Cultural Performances, Hand-Made Art & Craft Vendors, Family & Children's Activities, Food vendors-Oh De Lolli and more! 


Saturday, Apr. 22, 9:00am – 4:30pm

Sunday, Apr. 23, 9:00am – 3:00pm

Workshops & Lectures, Vendors & Plant Sales, Bonsai Live Auction, and Toko Kazari Competition 


Under 4 yrs Free

4 – 14 yrs $1

15 yrs - Adult $5

Seniors 62+ $1

Students $1

Veterans $1

Family (2-5 people) $7


*Please note: Woodward Park entry/parking

fee per car: $5; $3 for seniors; $7 on holidays

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 16178, Fresno, CA 93755-6178

© 2014 Shinzen Friendship Garden. All Rights Reserved. Registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization