The Urban Balcony: My First Japanese Garden

Before I moved to Japan, I lived in a house with a garden. In Tokyo, I’ve lived in an urban apartment. No garden. No access to the outdoors. Then in July, I moved to a second Tokyo apartment. Still no garden. And right off my bedroom, the ugliest balcony in the world. See for yourself. Pretty hideous, right?

I decided what that balcony needed was a Japanese garden. And what I needed was a Japanese gardener. Fortunately, I knew one because I’d interviewed him a few years ago for this column in The Japan Times. Shimizu Takayuki 清水隆行, a licensed landscape architect and gardener, came to look at my ugly balcony. He said he could help.

And here is the result, installed last week:

And a closer view:

Needless to say, I’m thrilled. This is yet another Adventure in Columning — when work on my column leads me in new and exciting directions. Shimizu-san’s company is called Midori no Machi Kōbō 緑のまち工房.

This entry was posted in Adventures in Columning, Life in Japan and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The Urban Balcony: My First Japanese Garden

  1. ryukyumike says:

    Shimizu Takayuki has done an excellent job decorating your balcony and I hope to spread the word internationally. It’s fantastic !

  2. Betty Winter says:

    What a lovely transformation…How nice to see this beauty when you want to take a break..Great job..!

  3. Jeffrey says:

    Well done!

  4. Pingback: Making A Japanese Garden - Look What You Can Do With A Balcony! |

  5. janice says:

    Beautiful and very peaceful garden. I hope you enjoy it!

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  7. stacy says:

    Two questions: (1) where do you hang your laundry (2) how will you deal with your garden when you move?

  8. Hi Stacy, I hang my laundry inside. There’s even special laundry detergent these days for inside-hangers. A lot of women who work do it now. The whole garden can break down and be moved. All the plans are in pots. It’s going to be a job thought, that’s for sure. Alice


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  10. Haruko-chan says:

    It is amazing what you did with such a small space!

  11. Your balcony looks really cool! I found your blog and started to read some articles, really interesting! I will try to make a Japanese garden in balcony, I have a blog, more about gardens, flowers:
    Thank you again for the articles!

  12. myu says:

    how did you prepare your balcony floor to make this awesome garden…. looks really cool…

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  14. Meher Makda says:

    Hi! I would love to know how the pots are hidden from view! Were a lot of pebbles used? Are the pots buried inside the pebbles? Thanks!

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