How do two cities symbolize their connection to each other? Well, if you’re San Jose and Okayama, Japan, which became sister cities in 1957, you create an out. Dedicated at Kelley Park in 1965, the Japanese Friendship Garden is modeled after Korakuen Garden in Okayama, with a pagoda, bridges and koi ponds all reminiscent of Japanese style. The ponds, which are at different elevations and connected by waterfalls, were stocked with koi sent over from Japan in 1966. The centerpiece of the garden is a beautiful tea house, which has been the site of countless weddings and other special occasions. It was severely damaged during a flood in February 2017, but a community fundraising effort is underway to restore it.
Photos courtesy of San Jose’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services.