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.
The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Thursday it has picked anime director Hayao Miyazaki as one of three recipients of its Honorary Award this year. (Japan Times)
The National Police Agency and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications plan to assign an extra 3,000 officers over the next three years to deal with stalking and bank transfer fraud cases which are increasing. (Japan Today)
A Japanese district court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Tuesday to pay some 49 million yen in compensation over the suicide of an evacuee from the March 2011 nuclear accident at the company's Fukushima No. 1 power plant. (Jiji Press)