Business | HOTEL SPECIAL 2013

Oasis of peace in Tokyo

In the middle of the downtown Tokyo district of Ebisu, there is a green oasis where people can forget about the hustle and bustle of city life. The new garden at The Westin Tokyo in Yebisu Garden Place is called The Westin Garden and was opened this April to let guests enjoy a refreshing time in the invigorating scent of the woods. Making it through this year’s extremely hot summer, the garden is busily flourishing.

The garden was created in collaboration with Kazuyuki Ishihara, a pioneering landscape artist and the first Japanese designer ever to win five gold medals in succession at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which is one of the most famous flower shows in the world.

The European-theme garden emphasizes nature and aims to highlight the best of Ishihara’s creative design, including his renowned skills using moss and European elegance that make the garden enjoyable from any perspective. The garden, facing The Lounge and The Bar on the lobby level, is intended to help guests outside and within feel rejuvenated.

Having more than 300 kinds of flowers and trees, each selected by Ishihara, people can enjoy the transition of the seasons, the sound of a rushing creek and bird songs. Therefore, it will be different every time people visit and yet still offer its seasonal displays throughout the year.

The main philosophy of Ishihara’s gardening is to present a calm lifestyle in which people coexist with nature so that people can remember the peace and richness that nature offers us. This comes out of his background for he was brought up in a region richly endowed with nature in Nagasaki Prefecture, and in The Westin Garden, he re-created a part of a mountain lifestyle in the countryside called “Satoyama Life,” which was also included in the award-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2012.

The garden also plays a role as a biotope to provide a natural living habitat and environment for creatures. Small fish swim in the stream, owls sometimes visit trees and in early summer, fireflies entertain visitors.

The hotel contributes to the community with the garden. This summer, the hotel offered residents in Meguro Ward a community tour, and also, in cooperation with its neighborhood Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, it invited children to let them enjoy summer programs.

For now, the garden can be used for a photo spot for couples holding weddings at the hotel though, in the near future, wedding ceremonies can be held there.

It opens at 9 a.m. and closes at sunset. And at night, the garden will be lit up and picturesque serene scenes can be enjoyed.

The hotel is planning to hold a special gardening lesson by Ishihara next year. Guests will be able to tour the garden with Ishihara and then participate in a group planting workshop, the results of which can be taken home.