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Look for the Japanese Friendship Garden sign and the ornate entrance gate when you start your walk into Kelly Park. This Japanese Garden is a six-acre traditional hill and pond garden. It is contained within a walled in section of Kelley Park. The garden was designed to be similar to Korakuen in Okayama, Japan which is San Jose's sister city.
Garden sign and entrance gate
When you first walk in the garden past the gate, you will immediately see the lower level koi pond. The garden has three ponds that are interconnected by streams, each at a different level of the garden. All three ponds are stocked with koi. The lower level koi pond has willows alongside it and bridges across it.
Lower level koi pond Wooden zigzag bridge
Bridges across koi pond
Koi pond with Japanese black pine in background
There are lanterns and bonsai plants spread throughout the garden. Lanterns have been used in Japanese gardens throughout history and are typically made of stone. Stones and small rock gardens are sprinkled throughout the lower level of the garden. Trees and foliage include Japanese Maple, Baby’ tears peppered across the hillside, Sweet Flag Iris in the pond, and manicured trees. There are also a couple of waterfalls.
Rock garden Japanese Maple
Baby’s tears Sweet flag iris
Japanese iris Manicured tree