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400-year-old garden in Okayama to be replaced with condominium complex

49 Comments
By Casey Baseel

Japan loves to devise top three lists, and Okayama City’s Korakuen is held to be one of the country’s three best gardens. Anyone who’s visited will tell you that it’s indeed beautiful, but Korakuen isn’t the city’s only garden, or even its oldest.

Okayama is also where you’ll find Tokoen, a garden with a history that stretches back to the early days of Japan’s feudal Edo era. Tranquil and easily accessed by public transportation, Tokoen would make an ideal spot for history buffs and nature lovers looking for a less crowded, quieter urban oasis than Korakuen.

Sadly, though, after roughly four centuries, Tokoen has closed down, and is soon likely to be demolished and replaced with a condominium complex.

Although the exact year Tokoen was completed is unclear, historians do know that it was initially the private retreat of Ikeda Tadakatsu, the lord whose domain included present-day Okayama City.

Ikeda’s short life lasted from 1602 to 1632, making Tokoen one of the oldest gardens in Okayama Prefecture, and also several decades older than Korakuen, which was built in 1700.

The garden’s layout is thought to be the work of noted landscaper Kobori Enshu, who designed Tokoen in the kaiyu style, in which visitors are led on a course that winds around the grounds and past a spring-fed pond and tea house. As with many Japanese gardens, it was created with sight lines that ”borrow” aspects from the surrounding scenery, which in Tokoen’s case means affording visitors views of nearby Mt. Misaoyama.

After the death of Ikeda, ownership of the garden was transferred to the Niwa samurai family, and Tokoen has remained in private hands since. Although Okayama was bombed in the closing days of World War II, the garden escaped damage, and several of its features, such as the pond and seven-layer granite tower (which itself was constructed during the Kamakura period which lasted from the 12th to 14th centuries), have been left as they were when Tokoen was first opened centuries ago.

Despite remaining in private ownership, for many years the roughly 700-square meter garden was open to the public for a modest 400 yen admission fee.

Tragedy struck, though, in 2012, when the then-owner of Tokoen passed away. The heirs to the property said they were no longer able to continue operating the garden in its previous capacity, and in May of 2013, entrance to Tokoen became limited to those making advance reservations.

Apparently even this austerity measure was not enough, and on December 3 of the same year, Tokoen closed its gates for good.

Tokoen was never registered as an official cultural property, and as such does not seem to be eligible for any sort of special protection from the local government. With its former owners incapable of serving as caretakers, the land has been sold off to property developers. According to an article published by the local Sanyo Shimbun newspaper, a multi-floor condominium complex will be built on the site.

A quick look at the cramped dimensions of the average Japanese home is enough to make almost anyone long for more modern, spacious, and comfortable housing. Still, the loss of what should have been considered a cultural treasure is a high price to pay for such amenities, especially when it seems like more could have been done to prevent the garden’s loss.

Tokoen is not located in a remote, outlying corner of Okayama City. The city streetcar’s Kadotayashiki Teiryujo stop is right in front of the garden, sitting just 2.7 kilometers from Okayama Station and the city center. Nonetheless, little if anything was done to promote Tokoen as a destination for travelers. Most tourism literature makes no mention of it, and even Okayama City’s official website seems to have given no more than a single page to Tokoen, lacking even such basic information as directions for visitors.

We were alerted to this sad tale by a resident of the neighborhood where Tokoen is located. Our source informed us that towards the end of its days, the garden was indeed struggling to draw visitors, who primarily consisted of elderly couples and small groups of amateur photographers and artists.

With buildable land always scarce, it’s an unfortunate fact of life in Japan that in order to put up something new, something old often has to be swept away. The area surrounding Tokoen isn’t immune to such changes, as our source reports. “A little over a year ago we got a new grocery store and the nearby school is expanding. Parking lots are being turned into houses and houses are renovating.”

Still, the sale of Tokoen came as a complete surprise. “A few old homes may have been torn down, but nothing like this.” What makes the situation particularly frustrating is the lack of an earnest attempt to engage the community in finding a way to save the garden. “Had they come forward…people could have helped,” the resident laments. “There have been no signs posted or anything, and the city has said nothing.”

With the sale completed, it’s likely too late for historical conservationists to do anything to halt the construction project now. An outpouring of support could, possibly, encourage developers to preserve at least a portion of the garden, or at the very least plant the seed of such an idea in the heads of those in charge of future projects.

If nothing more, hopefully all this will serve as a reminder of the dangers of taking things for granted. Almost every town in Japan has its own Tokoen, someplace that’s been part of the local cultural heritage for so long it’s slowly becoming forgotten, even as its need for support grows more and more critical. So whether you’re a resident or a visitor to Japan, next time you’re at what seems like just another shrine, temple, or garden, consider putting a few yen into the collection box or the hand of a local vendor. Otherwise, you just might find a condo there the next time you stop by.

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49 Comments
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seems like the heirs are incompetent and has no business sense at all....so they went to a quick buck and sold the property that they never cared anyway, its called development(?)

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Sadly, I've often felt that the Japanese don't appreciate their historical landmarks the way that other countries do. Once you throw it away, it'll be lost forever.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

I don't really see what the trouble here is- in my town there are so many small (and mostly unused) parks that are fairly well maintained. I traveled to Okayama and saw similar things there... how hard could it be to maintain it as a park? Don't have to keep the fancy shrubs or whatever.

Anyway, couldn't this at the very least provide some elderly with volunteer work I'm sure they'd love to d and at BEST provide a job or two?

Additionally, if this was truly important to the Japanese, someone with money would step up right away and throw down the money. If affluent Japanese can spend 500,000 yen on a pair of melons yearly, surely they could afford this property...if they cared.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

I imagine that the developers of the condo will plug the fact that it is where a garden once stood and have a very small atrium to honor this. This will drive up the prices for the condo's and you will have people lining up to just be one of the first to get a condo just to say they have one in a famous place.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It is sad to lose history especially for a Condo. The city father have no sense. Ikeda must be spinning in his grave.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

What a sad state of affairs. I've been there a good many years ago with a uni group. A delightful oasis, incorporating many of the classical aspects of japanese garden design.

It's extraordinary that the city or ken could not take over the garden and maintain it for posterity.

Sadly I've seen this time and time again over the years. People wet themselves over places being awarded world heritage status ( and consequently flock there in numbers devaluing the very status), but when it comes to preservation of minor historical heritage sites the lack of action is at times striking.

Governments and citizens need to become much more pro-active in conservation and an institution similar to National Trust with teeth and laws needs to be developed.

So many wonderful places already lost, but it's not too late.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Cultural vandalism, pure and simple!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

This really is disgusting to read.

I think I know the garden they are talking about, it even mentioned a blurb in Lonely Planet if I`m not mistaken.

The lack of cultural preservation in this country - at least in terms of physical architecture - is appalling. I live in a nieghborhood that is branded as "historic" but the only way you`d know it by looking at it is because they have little signs sprinkled around telling you where things of historical significance used to be.

"Site of the (so and so) tea house, built in 1648" says a sign on the edge of a convenience store parking lot.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

And this is why the Japanese law needs to include the concept of 'trusts' i Any big company here would take over this type of property for a nominal fee and have it run under acharitable status

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Sad and I put A curse on the property and the developers family. It should be investagated because this just smells of political coruption and someone in the local and Ken government has filled their pockets from the developers the government can stop it all they have to do is try.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

This is why I prefer to take my holidays overseas. Wherever you go in Japan the cities all look the same: rectilinear concrete and glass boxes. Why bother spending a fortune to visit a place that is exactly like the place you live?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Unsurprisingly, property owners will do what is in their best interest. It's a shame that the city doesn't step in to buy it.

I think the problem in Japan is that prefectural and municipal goverments have very litte incentive to invest in gardens, park land or other amenities to make their towns more appealing because their power to levy property taxes is very strictly controlled and any rise in market values of properties would not be accurately assessed for tax purposes.

If a municipal government created a beautiful and livable city in hopes raising property values, it could actually be a disaster if many families flocked there. They probably wouldn't be able to raise enough money to fund all of the other services such as schools, roads etc.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan is "unzoning" itself into a quite horrid monstrosity.

Greenfield sites are the pristine virginal canvases for developers' wet dreams, their neighbouring brownfield sites tainted and uneconomic to redevelop.

Strip developments creep ever outward like weird movie sets; malls, family restaurants, car accessories superstores punctuated with derelict factories, failed boutiques and rotting pachinko parlours - all with signage intact - eyesores bearing ugly testament to the three monkeys' Confucian deceit - see, hear and speak no evil.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"Money Talks!" Thats what its all about. Nothing else. This is today`s world.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Like we don't have enough condos already! What a waste...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How typically depressing. The next time someone back home begins to lecture me about the Japanese love of nature I'm going to throw up. Seriously, can't the city step in - Okayama is a great place but has more than enough condos, sprawl, used car lots, would be a crime to let this beautiful park turn to some banal suburban crap.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Trying to think positively...

In 400 years time, the condo might be treasured for its municipal water supply-fed bathrooms, the walking route which leads visitors past the mail boxes and party room and its 20-layer concrete tower appearance...

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Have seen this garden and others in Okayama. A shame, indeed. All in the name of progress !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Before I came to Japan, I had the idea that Japanese people love nature, respect their ancestors and revere history. It didn't take long to disabuse me of this opinion.

Most of them couldn't care less about history, their ancestors and nature is something that has to be reined in and beaten into submission.

Why else would they think of destroying this beautiful park? And why would they destroy the natural habitat in Okinawa, rendering the Okinawan Dugong extinct to make way for a US superbase?

It doesn't make sense.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Any park is a "getaway" place in any town and there are some very beautiful parks all over Japan. Destroying such a "historical" one is pure disrespect and a real shame.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The other day I was watching an old episode of The West Wing where they say America has a law that prohibits destroying anything that is more than 100 years old, not even for developing Presidential Library. That's a good law we need it in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

should be declared a national landmark

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The city, the prefecture happily grant permits for more concrete, steel, asphalt.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Building on parks in urban areas should be illegal. Japan needs a UK type of National Trust so these places can be preserved for the nation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How sad. Japan is an old country so maybe 400 years doesn't seem like much to them, but in a country that has seen so many wars, fires, and earthquakes it's important to preserve what you can, especially this green space. It's too bad it wasn't attached to a Shinto shrine or temple, then it wouldn't have been in private ownership and could have been preserved. I wonder why the previous owner did not make provisions or at least a will concerning what should be done with the garden. Maybe he did and this is the result? Like the rest of Asia I don't think many Japanese care about how their cities look. Practicality and convenience above all else makes for some real eye-sore cities, stories like this make me think it's not getting better.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a living canvas by Kobori Enshu and should be worth a fortune.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Now all of the closet experts are coming out on how to maintain a park. It has been the way Japan has been far before any of you ever came here. People want to live in cities where it is convenient to get to their jobs, take public transportation and many places within an easy distance. A business struggles then it closes. If you own a piece of land that is making no money and have an opportunity to make tons of money, what would you do?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

They tore down Nihonbashi for the '64 Olympics and are planning to take out the Okuna for the upcoming Olympics, as well as paving over part of the park outside the Meiji shrine. There seems to be no sense of the value of historic places. The government should have taken over the park a long time ago and run it as a public park rather than a "business".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Fret not. I'm sure something more suitable will be erected in it's place, like a scale replica of the Champs-Élysées. Playing Christmas music.

In August.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Idiots.

Rather than tearing up a park, why not do what they did more than century ago in NYC (Gramercy) and various London neighborhoods - build the development around the park maintaining it for the residents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramercy_Park

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Rather than tearing up a park, why not do what they did more than century ago in NYC (Gramercy) and various London neighborhoods - build the development around the park maintaining it for the residents.

OK, I need to underline to people here that this park is a mere 700-square-meter big. That is essentially the size of an average suburban house lot in North America. It's simply not all that big. Gramercy park that you mention is 8 000-square-meter big. Most house lots in Japan tend to be maybe 200-square-meter big. So let's remember the scale of this park here. You cannot build houses around the park without destroying a significant portion of it.

What would be best I think would be for the city to buy the land and make it into a public park for residents to enjoy, especially as Japan cities tend to lack in terms of small neighborhood parks.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I have a better idea... Build a public park on top of the centuries old garden... It's old anyway...

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

They'll easily cover a historical garden for an apartment block yet they still defend whaling and dolphin hunting as cultural treasures ... Just saying

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Like the rest of Asia I don't think many Japanese care about how their cities look. Practicality and convenience above all else makes for some real eye-sore cities, stories like this make me think it's not getting better.

I agree, the lack of colour and vibrancy astounds me. Bright lights in Shinjuku don't cut it in the long run either. Japanese cities are build to last around 30 years, the ones in Europe, about centuries. They care too much about practicality than ideas.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kchoze Jul. 24, 2014 - 02:37AM JST What would be best I think would be for the city to buy the land and make it into a public park for residents to enjoy, especially as Japan cities tend to lack in terms of small neighborhood parks.

It's up to each individual cities and towns to classified these buidings and gardens as a historical site. But with the shortfall in their budget, they could only do so much to preserve the history. Since the building is only 2.7 km from the train station, there is a demand by investors to build commercial rental property to generate revenue. City has the option to refuse and buy the property and maintain it. But at what cost? City already knows it cost more that it's worth to maintain it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

kchozeJUL. 24, 2014 - 02:37AM JST OK, I need to underline to people here that this park is a mere 700-square-meter big. That is essentially the size of an average suburban house lot in North America.

Correct. However, as parks go in dense urban areas of Japan, 7,535-square feet is a lot larger than a pocket pocket.

Gramercy park that you mention is 8 000-square-meter big.

Incorrect. Take it you've never been to NYC. Gramercy Park is, wait for it, approximately 808-square meters, or about the same size as the garden in question. I have no idea where you get your 8,000-square meters as the area encompassing the Gramercy Park neighborhood is larger than that.

"The approximately 2 acre (0.8 hectare) park is the only private park in New York City,[8] . . . "

Yes. Perhaps the city of Okayama should have shown better sense and purchased the residence and garden. But it didn't and it would make good marketing sense for the condo development to included a gated private park.

SenseNotSoCommonJUL. 23, 2014 - 12:11PM JST Japan is "unzoning" itself into a quite horrid monstrosity.

Can't undo something that doesn't exist. By-and-large, Japan has no zoning laws. This is why you find apartment buildings adjacent to light industrial businesses and why they allow for "pencil" buildings. The concept of highest and best use is pretty much unknown in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Jeff Huffman Jul. 24, 2014 - 04:21AM JST The concept of highest and best use is pretty much unknown in Japan.

That is because Japanese do not impose one or two exclusive uses for every zone. They tend to view things more as what is the maximum nuisance level to tolerate in each zone, but every use that is considered to be less of a nuisance is still allowed. So low-nuisance uses are allowed essentially everywhere. That means that almost all Japanese zones allow mixed use developments, which is far from true in U.S. zoning. This great rigidity in allowed uses per zone in U.S. zoning means that urban planing departments must really micromanage to the smallest detail everything to have a decent city. Because if they forget to zone for enough commercial zones or schools, people can't simply build what is lacking, they'd need to change the zoning. And since urban planning departments, especially in small cities, are largely awful, a lot of needed uses are forgotten in neighborhoods, leading to them being built on the outskirts of the city, requiring car travel to get to them from residential areas.

The Japanese zoning gives much more flexibility to builders, private promoters but also school boards and the cities themselves. So the need for hyper-competent planning is much reduced, as Japanese planning departments can simply zone large higher-use zones in the center of neighborhoods, since the lower-uses are still allowed. If there is more land than needed for commercial uses in a commercial zone, then you can still build residential uses there, until commercial promoters actually come to need the space and buy the buildings from current residents. Japan's zoning laws are more rational and more efficient.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

sfjp330JUL. 24, 2014 - 05:02AM JST Jeff Huffman Jul. 24, 2014 - 04:21AM JST The concept of highest and best use is pretty much unknown in Japan.

That is because Japanese do not impose one or two exclusive uses for every zone

Which is the same thing, essentially, as saying that there are no meaningful zoning laws in Japan. Everything you wrote after was merely explanatory and in no way demonstrated how a lack of strict zoning was superior.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Which is the same thing, essentially, as saying that there are no meaningful zoning laws in Japan. Everything you wrote after was merely explanatory and in no way demonstrated how a lack of strict zoning was superior.

Actually, he wrote nothing, he just copy-pasted two paragraphs from my blog post on Japanese zoning.

FTR, I think Japanese zoning is superior because it is more flexible and doesn't micromanage everything. So if apartments are needed, apartments are built, if a neighborhood lacks a corner store, a corner store can be built. If they need to build a new school, they can build it wherever they find the land, all without facing NIMBY opposition and losing untold amount of money and time to defend their projects in front of planning committees. The result is that Japanese cities are much more organic than strictly planned cities and they can evolve quickly to provide for their residents' needs. For instance, if there's a new transit station in a place, in Japan, high-density housing, stores and even malls will often quickly replace the earlier low-density housing. In North America, a transit station built in a low-density area may see 10-20 years pass before any densification occurs, because the strict zoning forbids it and the zoning changes are stuck due to local opposition.

Cities with strict zoning tend to quickly turn into outdoor museums fixed in time, where the human presence is often seen as a nuisance ruining the master plan rather than as the purpose for which the city exists.

However, Japanese authorities often lack the initiative to provide public places like parks, which has little to do with zoning, but probably much more to do with the strong respect for property rights in Japan. In this case, the park was a private property, so if the owner decides to sell it and the new owner wants to replace it with something else, that is his property, not the community's and it is his right to do so. Japan's public authorities maybe ought to get more proactive.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

kchozeJUL. 24, 2014 - 07:54AM JST FTR, I think Japanese zoning is superior because it is more flexible and doesn't micromanage everything. So if apartments are needed, apartments are built, if a neighborhood lacks a corner store, a corner store can be built.

Have you ever lived in Japan? If so, you know that there, as in mixed (SFR and multi-unit) urban neighborhoods the world over, no one is going to object to a corner store (especially not the better Japanese conbini), dry cleaners or izakaya - businesses that serve the neighborhood. (Schools don't come into the equation any longer as enrollment is dropping throughout most of the nation, nor does transit really as most cities are pretty well saturated with subways and rail lines.) But that's not only what you will find (or not find) in urban neighborhoods in Japan. There will be a dearth of open and/or green space and you will find light industry cheek-by-jowl with residential structures. Both are zoning and planning failures pure and simple.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I love the positive spins on Japaenese town planning - rational(need a school for the poor kids - build it), flexible (need a flyover - build it), efficient(environmental concerns waste time - build it) .......

Sure, in a basically "flexible" planning system the developers get what they want - whether they be small or large scale.

But the negatives abound. Some local examples.

a crash repair body shop (one of the most toxic industries) built opposite the university, next to a convenience store across from apartments and houses all within 1km of the prefectural govt building. Nothing like the smell of thinners in the morning. Nice, very Nice. 15 floor apartment built next to a small temple / kindergarten(my daughter went there) suddenly overshadowing everything. The sense of scale, intimacy, privacy, light, breezes gone. Nice one. an historical garden in my city that easily equals the "top 3", but can never be afforded that status because of the weak weak zoning laws which allowed for the development of many high apartments around / near the perimeter destroying the "shakkei" but making a big sales point for the sellers. Nice.

I could spend a day writing about this in just my area and never be done.

Haphazardness has taken over cities and towns planning and the public have bought into it with the suck-hole mantra of "convenience".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Does zoning even exist in Japan? Honest question. I've always been under the impression that it was non-existent, likely because of the lack of space to be able to afford to have it. But I've never actually looked into it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Have you ever lived in Japan? If so, you know that there, as in mixed (SFR and multi-unit) urban neighborhoods the world over, no one is going to object to a corner store (especially not the better Japanese conbini), dry cleaners or izakaya - businesses that serve the neighborhood. (Schools don't come into the equation any longer as enrollment is dropping throughout most of the nation, nor does transit really as most cities are pretty well saturated with subways and rail lines.) But that's not only what you will find (or not find) in urban neighborhoods in Japan. There will be a dearth of open and/or green space and you will find light industry cheek-by-jowl with residential structures. Both are zoning and planning failures pure and simple

Yes, there are mixed used neighborhoods all around the world, almost all of them predating zoning. Once zoning got in, in the beginning of the 20th century, mixed used neighborhoods just stopped being built, all the ones that exist have been grandfathered in. People do object to corner stores, groceries, even elementary schools! I know of at least one case where authorities wanted to build a school in the middle of a new development, they even had the land for it, but a few people objected to it and forced them to build it in the middle of nowhere, forcing every single kid to be bused to school at high cost to the parents . In many places, just replacing a house by a duplex would almost lead to riots.

The presence of light industry around residential areas isn't a bad thing, as it lets workers get there easily on foot or by bike. Much light industry doesn't create too much noise or pollution locally.

As to the lack of green space, I don't think that's necessarily a planning failure. Sure, they could do with more parks, but that's not related to zoning. Cities don't need to zone for parks, they could just buy the land themselves and make it into a park, regardless of zoning. Much of the green space observed in North American cities is just useless lawns which are nothing but wastes of space. Japanese zoning is lax, which results in cities that are economically efficient and that just plain work better, because inefficient uses of space get weeded out. It's not perfect, but it's much better than the extreme micromanagement of standard western zoning practices.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There are some good points about zoning made here, though as has also been pointed out this case has nothing to do with zoning law.

If the issue is approached as a problem with the law, the law on cultural property protection is more relevant than zoning. Japan actually has a pretty good legislative framework for the protection of culturally important sites, but the problem is that the government has to take the initiative to actually designate a site as protected in order for that law to apply, which did not happen in this case.

Im very curious as to why that did not happen here as a 400 year old garden of this size (its not massive but looking at pictures on other sites it is a pretty big garden by urban Japanese standards) are exceedingly rare in Japan. A weakness in the law seems to be the lack of a process by which the public is given the chance to participate in the designation of sites (ie it doesnt seem like anybody even could have nominated this site for protection if they had wanted to).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kchoze - your comments appear to be heavily focused on economics as if that's the be all and end all of life.

As I posted earlier the God of Convenience is more oft than not the rod by which many conduct their lives here - but that doesn't make it the most harmonious factor for quality lifestyle or is conducive to notions other than ease of effort.

Maybe we should all live in capsule hotels next to conbinis and train stations.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Jeff, you are wrong, 2 acres = 8094 Sq Meters. look at a conversion site. But it doesn't matter the size. Something this old and nice should not be developed to put cash in someone pockets. It is just wrong. The greens space is more valuable and it the build is also that old, then it should be maintained for future generations to know how some one of Ikeda's class used to live. There are small shines all over Japan, some no bigger than an alley way. I don't see developers going after them. Probably it is not a good idea to mess with Kamis.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ka_chanJUL. 25, 2014 - 07:01AM JST Jeff, you are wrong, 2 acres = 8094 Sq Meters.

I stand corrected.

Something this old and nice should not be developed to put cash in someone pockets. It is just wrong. The greens space is more valuable and it the build is also that old, then it should be maintained for future generations to know how some one of Ikeda's class used to live. There are small shines all over Japan, some no bigger than an alley way. I don't see developers going after them. Probably it is not a good idea to mess with Kamis.

I agree with you completely. My point is if the property is gone from the potentially public domain, the condo developers ought to have the good sense to at least preserve what they can as an enhancement to the new building.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe we should all live in capsule hotels next to conbinis and train stations.

The point isn't that people should live this way or that way, the point is that if someone wants to live in a one-room apartment next to combinis and train stations, they should be able to. People shouldn't be going around forbidding these developments through zoning because in their view "that's not how people ought to live, you need to have a big lawn and a house, if you can't afford it, get out of our city".

If people want to live in ways that are economically inefficient but that they find more pleasing, no one wants to stop them... it's just that their decision should not be subsidized nor imposed by law.

When you let people make their own choices, you get things you might not like, just like the current example. But at the same time, the garden didn't seem to be worth much for the owners, the ones who sold it or who bought it, and even the community didn't seem to mobilize to have it re-open when the old owners closed it down to the public. It seems people started caring about it only when its destruction was announced.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Awesome. If there is anything more beautiful than concrete in this world, I don't know it. Who needs art anyways. Not me!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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