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 on Tuesday started fully operating the world's first geostationary weather satellite capable of taking images in color, hoping to forecast typhoon movements and concentrated downpours more accurately. (Kyodo)
A total of 455 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people petitioned the Japan Federation of Bar Associations on Tuesday to urge the government and lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage. (Jiji Press)
Evacuees from a southwestern Japanese island hit by a volcanic eruption made a brief return to their homes on Tuesday ahead of an approaching typhoon. But their trip was cut short due to volcanic quakes. (NHK)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Monday announced the arrest of the boss of an organized crime group for the alleged confinement and assault of a construction worker, reports the Sankei Shimbun (July 6). (Tokyo Reporter)
Meet Ladybaby, the Japanese musical group that will make you look twice. Featuring Ladybeard, the east's most hirsute crossdressing entertainer, this band's debut song blends infectious Japanese pop with bizarre, energetic heavy metal vocals. (forbes.com)
Police arrested a 40-year-old man Monday for allegedly setting fire to his own home in Kitsuki, Oita Prefecture, where four bodies, believed to be his children, were found amid the burned wreckage. (Japan Times)
A 26-year-old man was arrested Sunday for allegedly confining in his car an 11-year-old schoolgirl who went missing the day before in Nara Prefecture while shopping with her family, police said. (Kyodo)
A drug control division of the health ministry on Saturday announced the arrest of a former executive of public broadcaster NHK for the importation of so-called "dangerous drugs," reports the Sankei Shimbun (July 4). (Tokyo Reporter)