Tokyo’s Green Initiatives: Exploring Urban Nature in the Metropolis | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Tokyo’s Green Initiatives: Exploring Urban Nature in the Metropolis

By Margherita May 10, 2024

In a bustling metropolis like Tokyo, green spaces are becoming increasingly vital. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) has been promoting various green initiatives to enhance the city’s environmental quality. From protecting and utilizing greenery to nurturing urban parks with art installations, Tokyo is redefining its landscape for a sustainable future. 

Explore the city’s innovative efforts, from revitalizing public spaces to incorporating greenery into urban developments, and witness how Tokyo is transforming into a greener, more harmonious cityscape. 

Green Initiatives in Tokyo to Watch Out For

We have summarized some of the green initiatives promoted within the city of Tokyo to discover green within the highly urbanized Tokyo landscape.

The Importance of Green Initiatives in Tokyo

japanese flowers and parks with mountain view

Image credits:

Recent trends show the growing importance of green spaces in addressing social issues like climate adaptation, accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With global frameworks like the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, TMG launched “Tokyo Green Biz” in 2023, aiming to enrich the city’s greenery for future generations. Establishing an advisory board and engaging diverse stakeholders, TMG seeks to utilize Tokyo’s greenery, fostering a sustainable city in harmony with nature for the next century.

Efforts to Protect, Utilize, and Nurture Greenery

Tokyo Green Biz revolves around the framework of  “protect, utilize, and nurture greenery.

It aims to protect green spaces in the city by constructing new infrastructure and promoting the conservation and management of forests and natural areas. These efforts directly address global temperature rise and other environmental concerns.

Utilization efforts aim to leverage existing green areas in central Tokyo wards as community landmarks. These initiatives foster interaction between residents and greenery, and enhance urban development harmony. Through the Tokyo Green Biz Movement, the goal is to create greener urban landscapes and promote the appeal of natural environments. 

Tokyo Green Biz nurtures greenery through community involvement and urban development, creating lush open spaces and water networks. It aims to develop vibrant green areas as community symbols, aligning with its mission to foster a greener, more sustainable cityscape.
Efforts include organizing events like forestry upkeep, rice cultivation, nature observation, and craft workshops to sustain environments where various forms of life thrive together.

Park x Art

green initiatives in japan

Image credits:

Tokyo’s metropolitan parks are integral to the city’s fabric, serving as vital spaces for social interaction, environmental conservation, and recreation. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is deeply invested in elevating these parks to enhance the well-being of residents. Among these parks, Hibiya Park holds a special place, boasting a rich history dating back to its opening in 1903. Over the years, it has evolved into a cultural center, offering a blend of Western influences and Japanese traditions.

In line with its commitment to innovation, Hibiya Park is introducing art installations to complement its natural beauty. The project “Playground Becomes Dark Slowly”, showing until 12th May, features expansive installations by renowned Japanese artists Shinji Ohmaki, Yuko Nagayama, and Miyu Hosoi. These installations aim to engage visitors on multiple levels, reshape perceptions of nature and redefine parks’ roles in city life, appealing to their senses and sparking new perspectives on the park’s significance. By incorporating art into the park environment, Tokyo hopes to create a dynamic space that resonates with diverse audiences and fosters a deeper appreciation for nature and culture. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that everyone, regardless of background or ability, can find value and enjoyment in Tokyo’s green urban oases like Hibiya Park.
Ohmaki’s ‘Gravity and Grace’ dazzles after dark, while Nagayama’s ‘Flower Hammock’ invites daytime relaxation above a floral oasis. Keep an ear out for Hosoi’s scattered sound installations as you explore.

Creation of Greenery Through Urban Development

Tokyo is a highly urbanized city, and there are many areas of the city where parks and green areas are inevitably less and the promotion of green needs to come from a new standpoint and diverse strategies to incorporate green spaces into urban landscapes

New greenery has been incorporated in recent major private development projects such as below:

  1. Azabudai Hills: Spanning 24,000 square meters, including a 6,000-square-meter Central Plaza, featuring 320 plant species and ecotones formed by flowing water.
  2. Tokyo Port City Takeshiba: Boasting 1,700 square meters of sky terraces and hosting various activities like urban beekeeping and rice planting.
  3. Otemachi Forest: Creating 3,000 square meters of greenery in Kyobashi, contributing to urban renewal and ecological networking.
  4. Kyobashi-no-Oka: Vertical green spaces reaching 30 meters high, providing shade and comfort, with a focus on biodiversity.
  5. Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Surugadai Building: Renovated rooftop garden promoting biodiversity with deciduous and fruit trees, attracting wildlife.
  6. Green Springs: Biotope conserving aquatic plants and releasing species to enhance biodiversity, featuring diverse plantings and local lumber usage.

Tokyo’s Green Initiatives to Bring More “Green” in Your Daily Life

Discover Tokyo’s vibrant green initiatives reshaping the cityscape. From the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s efforts to protect, utilize, and nurture greenery to the integration of art installations in iconic parks like Hibiya, Tokyo is leading the way in urban nature conservation. Explore the city’s innovative projects, including rooftop gardens, biotopes, and sky terraces, and witness Tokyo’s transformation into a sustainable, green metropolis.

More Reads:

Best of the Best: Peaceful Gardens to Spend Time in and Around Japan

Feature image credit: