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.
Japan's push to take away overtime from high-paid workers has critics warning it will aggravate a problem synonymous with the country's notoriously long working hours -- karoshi, or death from overwork. (AFP)
About 1,000 people lined up for the opening of Starbucks in Tottori City on Saturday morning. Tottori Prefecture was the final frontier for the popular coffee shop chain that now has more than 1,000 stores in Japan's 47 prefectures. (Japan Today)
About half of the nation's 47 prefectural and 20 ordinance-designated city governments have prohibited or are considering a ban on drone flights in locations that attract large numbers of people, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. (The Japan News)
When you hear the expression "JK business," do you have any idea what kind of work this refers to? JK stands for joshi kōsei (high school girls). In Japan, JK is a very powerful brand - and high school girls are a highly valued commodity. (Japan Times)
The Mito city government is seeking donations from companies and individuals to help restore major parts of Mito Castle: the Otemon main gate, the Ninomaru Sumiyagura watch tower within the outer structures of the castle and the castle walls. (The Japan News)
Okayama Prefectural Police have launched an attempted murder investigation following the shooting of two organized crime members outside a hostess club in Tamano City early Saturday morning, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
In a crackdown on overcharging of customers, Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday announced the bust of two hostess clubs in Shinjuku Ward for overcharging customers, reports the TBS News (May 22). (Tokyo Reporter)