The Beauty of Urban Greenery in Tokyo

For the past several years, Japan has been subject to a rapid increase in tourism, many of whom are attracted to its bustling, neon-lit cities of Tokyo. This image has always been a popular and lasting impression of Japan, but there is a lesser known and quieter facet of Japan’s urban life. Within the hearts of Tokyo’s suburban neighborhoods, greenery is prolific in multiple forms: in ceramic pots, on the window sills, and creeping up along walls.    

The Itabashi district of Tokyo is an example where greenery is enmeshed in everyday life. Potted plants are virtually everywhere; many line up outside of houses and even along the roads. In addition, various kinds of trees and bushes thrive throughout the townscape. The passing of the seasons is mirrored by this plethora of plant life, often bringing neighbors outdoors with its abundance of beauty. In spring, elderly couples and families stroll under Japan’s famous cherry blossom trees – its petals coloring the streets a gentle pink. 

Every year, this greenery provides a feast for the eyes as different flowers take on the scene according to the seasons. Camellias and azaleas add color to the mostly-gray background, giving the town, which is mostly comprised of concrete and asphalt, a vibrant touch.  

There is more than just aesthetics that makes the greenery important; it has social value for uniting neighbors together. It is an everyday sight to see locals sharing a conversation as they water their plants while others complement each other’s flowers. Living in such an environment also gives a sense of comfort as well as individuality, which is clearly reflected in the kinds of plants each neighbor nurtures and displays in front of their house.

It also has environmental benefits as it offers refuge for various birds and insects such as the spangle butterfly, or kuroageha in Japanese.

Areas such as Itabashi give insight into future city planning and advice for maintaining neighborhoods. In this age of construction and urban expansion, this kind of green and quaint life is disappearing. Every now and then, it is necessary to take breather from the busy, city life to seek solitude among the greenery. This is why the plant life in Tokyo is essential for both its citizens and for visitors from afar.