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Vertical Gardens

Instead of greenery being planted around buildings, lately I’ve been noticing how much greenery is planted ON buildings!

For the price of an apartment in Tokyo ($16,772.54 per square meter), you could own digs in San Francisco AND New York City ( ($6,414.85/sq m + $10,046.32/sq m), so it’s no surprise that traditional gardens are a luxury few can afford. But the city is a “heat island” – a good 15° hotter than the countryside surrounding it – so since 2001, all new buildings larger than 1000 square meters have been required to have at least 20% of their roof space covered in living plants.

The restaurant in the ground floor of this highrise stood its entry garden on its head instead of bemoaning the fact that it would have been impossible to plant a traditional-feeling Japanese garden in the miserly strip of setback between the sidewalk and the wall.
Even the Takadanobaba train station where I get off every morning has some walls planted in a green chessboard!

Read a novel set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with a pair of strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more



Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

4 thoughts on “Vertical Gardens Leave a comment

    • Me too! I wonder how they water it, though. The growth is really even, not patchy as if some parts get more water than others. Wouldn’t you think the water would drip down to the bottom, so the top plants would be sort of shrimpy and parched, and the bottom ones would be all lush and verdant?

  1. Vertical gardens are hugely trendy here, and (obviously) not for reasons of space. In the ones I’ve seen, the watering system is plumbed in, behind the scenes, and gravity is accounted for. In some, actually, the excess water just flows out at the bottom.

  2. I love these too. I’ve seen similar ones on various web sites, like this,
    They seem to use drip systems. If it’s anything like our drip system, it’ll get clogged but you won’t realize it till some of the plants get all dried out. But they sure are pretty.

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