Foreign flora to bloom in Tokyo

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The Independent Online

The Japanese are famoulsy green-fingered in their own right - the gardens of imperial Kyoto and ancient Nara are admired and replicated around the world -  but this year Tokyo's Okura Hotel has invited key representatives from 10 nations to display their own horticultural heritages in the 11th Annual World Gardening Fair.

The ambassador of Jamaica, Miss Claudia Barners, has designed a garden that will be displayed from early May in the hotel's Heian Room alongside creations by the wives of nine other ambassadors to Tokyo.

Designs that capture the diverse gardening culture of the Philippines, Morocco, Greece, the United States and Jordan, all of which have taken part in previous exhibitions, will this year be joined by landscapes drawn up by the wives of ambassadors from Cambodia, Norway, Samoa and Bulgaria.

"The event is held each year to provide guests with opportunities to come into contact with different cultures and to enable them to enjoy a variety of flora from five continents that they would otherwise have little chance of experiencing for themselves," Shoko Amano, a spokeswoman for the Hotel Okura, told Relaxnews.

Last year's display included a fairytale recreation of the forest of Hansel and Gretel by the German ambassador's wife, including a log cabin with walls made of biscuits, candy and pretzels.

A series of other events will run in conjunction with the gardening fair, including a Festival of Cuisine presenting the most famous dishes from the 10 participating nations, an exhibition of National Geographic photographs and a display of botanical art.

The event will be opened by her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado and all proceeds are to go to the Save the Children charity.

Dates: May 1- May 5

Times: 10 AM to 8 PM but until 5:30 PM on the final day. Gardens to be illuminated from 5:30 PM.

Prices: Y1,000 (€8.14) in advance for adults and Y700 (€5.70) for children; Y1,500 (€12.20) at the door for adults and Y800 (€6.50) for children.

Venue: The Hotel Okura, 2-10-4 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001

Further information: +81 3 3224 6731