Urban Gardening in Japan


What’s a big-city gardener to do? Grow plants in every open speck of ground  youJapanstreet
can find.  Or hey, why not in pots lined up on the median strip or wherever this sliver of garden  is in some Japanese city.  Or see where an avid gardener plants her tomatoes here on a Japanese blog.  Proof that you just can’t keep a good gardener down.

But enough about gardening; isn’t it interesting that there’s an English version of this blog, written by a self-described geek living in Japan?  And get this – the blogger is Hector Garcia, a Spanish geek living in Japan.  (Here’s the original in Spanish.)

Now don’t you feel a bit provincial?  I know I do.

Don’t miss Hector’s post about the Japanese custom of Contemplating Flowers.

We thank Tim Fross for the tip.

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Susan Harris

Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.


  1. Japan values its gardens. There are many thru out Tokyo and Kyoto that are 400 years old. And people all over the city put gardens were ever they can, rooftops, balconies, where ever (the idea of bonsai accentuates that idea). The care that goes into these gardens is amazing, seeing a man in Kyoto cut his moss with scissors and then racking the moss with a very small bamboo rake shows the patience and tranquility that can be achieved with zen gardening. I have been to Japan twice in the last year and was amazed by the gardens that I saw, it made me realize I have lots to learn.

  2. I love the idea of using every little bit of available ground for planting flowers, but would have a real problem eating anything grown that close to the road. Vehicle, dog, etc. pollution.

  3. I loved all the photos of the Japanese contemplating flowers. This weekend we are having our own version at the End of the Road. The last Sunday in June is always reserved for The Annual Rose Viewing. I now have about 60 hardy roses, rugosas, antique and Farmgirls from other farms in our town. They don’t bloom for long, but we invite our friends, and potential friends (this is our Garden Open Today) to stop and smell the roses. I think this might be our 20th year. The first roses went in in 1983, but we didn’t have the party for a couple of years, and we were in China for a couple of years, however this could really be our 20th rose anniversary. I’ll have lots of photos on my commonweeder blog.

  4. I went out to tend my little city garden and some teenagers ran over my dog! A garden in the middle of a race strip needs fencing.

  5. That’s definitely some guerilla gardening! I’m using my parking strip to grow stuff (area between street and sidewalk), since it gets good light. No problems yet with dogs pooping (I put a low fence around the veggies) or people walking on it.

  6. Alongside rail tracks is popular. Just a couple of minutes walk away people have planted plenty of flowers. There’s the odd chilli pepper plant, cucumber and aubergine.

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