The Nation reports that the rooftop of a luxury skyscraper in Tokyo’s glamorous Roppongi Hills neighborhood has added a surprising feature. The Mori Tower is the fifth tallest building in Tokyo and houses office space, retail shops, a museum, and now, of all things, a rooftop rice paddy.
This project is just one of many taking root in the wake of Tokyo residents’ increased interest in urban farming. Agriculture is a longstanding component of Japanese cultural history. Citizens take great pride in their national product, as well as the traditional methods of preparation, such as pickling, foraging, and liquor making.
The building recently held its annual rice-planting event, after which it celebrated Japanese food culture with a homemade sake tasting and a selection of seasonal ingredients from Niigata Prefecture, all to rhythmic accompaniment by traditional taiko drummers.
The urban farming initiative represents a desire to bridge the widening gap between metropolitan and rural areas. While the organic and seasonal food movement has already been widely accepted, officials hope that new projects like the Mori Tower rice paddy will cement agricultural partnerships, and even encourage urban residents to develop relationships with farmers in their hometowns.