Rooftop gardens have always offered a sanctuary in the Tokyo metropolitan area, but unlike those of yesteryear, which were simple, flat areas featuring plants and trees, today's more elaborate gardens are built like forests or along vertical spaces.
In spring last year, Omohara no Mori opened on the rooftop of the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku commercial complex in Shibuya Ward. Tall trees such as Japanese zelkova and katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) are planted in a basin-shaped area of 820 square metres, forming a garden that looks like a forest. One garden display is outfitted with a counter and chairs along its six sides, allowing visitors a view of trees as they relax with a cup of coffee.
A number of rooftop parks have been built to ease the "urban heat island" phenomenon in which big cities see abnormal rises in temperature.
Some local governments require developers that construct or renovate buildings to plant trees on the rooftop if the buildings are over a certain size. They also financially support developers' greenery projects.
According to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, the total area of rooftop greenery was 130,000 square meters in 2000. The figure had surged to 3.3 million square metres in 2011.
An independent judicial panel of citizens said Thursday it has decided that three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. merit indictment over the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. (Kyodo)
Osaka police said Wednesday they failed to report roughly 81,000 criminal cases to the National Police Agency between 2008 and 2012, or nearly 10 percent of the total reported by the prefectural police force during the five-year period. (Kyodo)
This week the annual charity event known as the Sumo Run took place in London's Battersea Park. To raise money for education in sub-Saharan Africa, participants don inflatable sumo suits and run the 5km course around the park, no doubt delighting passersby in the country that gave us Monty Python. (rocketnews24.com)
On July 16, Kanagawa Prefectural Police arrested Koichi Yokoyama, a former Liberal Democratic Party member of the Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly, for allegedly possessing stimulant drugs at his apartment in Yokohama last month. (Tokyo Reporter)
Police in Japan say that a 16-year-old girl has admitted to slaying her classmate because she "wanted to kill someone" and "dissect" the body, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo News. (huffingtonpost.com)
Golden-gai, a warren of tiny bars near Shinjuku's Kabukicho entertainment district, has long been a refuge for writers, musicians, filmmakers and other artistic types, who congregate at drinking establishments with like-minded patrons. (Japan Times)
On July 7, Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested 30-year-old Ikki Jin for allegedly slipping a sleeping powder into an alcoholic drink consumed by a 23-year-old male and robbing him of a total of 350,000 yen in cash and valuables in February. (Tokyo Reporter)