In Athens, the first Japanese garden appeared in Greece, which is located in the Nereidon Park on Michalakopoulou Street, not far from the National Gallery. The groundbreaking ceremony for the project, which is part of the Municipality of Athens “Take Your City” program, took place on Wednesday.
The Japanese Garden in Athens was created with the support of JT International Hellas under the auspices of the Japanese Embassy and is the city’s first theme park. Work on its creation included the removal of 180 cubic meters of concrete, curbs and rubble that were illegally dumped on the site, adding 350 cubic meters of fertile soil, creating small hills to increase the usable area, planting 50 trees and 3000 shrubs.
The Garden is made up of areas of vegetation and water, respecting the principles of Japanese culture to balance the elements of earth, water and fire.
The combination of trimmed shrubs with natural stone and pebbles created “tranquil” paths in the garden, and granite benches created a beautiful meeting place, offering park visitors the possibility of privacy and tranquility in the “heart” of the city.
The garden was designed by Antonis Skordilis and Ecoscapes, who also conducted research to establish the correct lighting.
At the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Japanese Ambassador to Greece Yasunori Nakayama noted that “Japanese gardens are one of the traditional cultural and spiritual symbols of Japan, and their history dates back to the 6th century AD.”
He added that they have characteristics that change with the seasons, while their landscapes have always been dear to the Japanese for four seasons, “because they find a special beauty in the changes of all things that reflect the passage of time.”
On the other hand, elderly locals who are not accustomed to nifty Japanese habits are already complaining about the extremely low benches and the difficulties they face.
And mothers with small children or strollers grumble about the gravel on the paths and the attached playground, since they are already tired of the injured knees and scratched hands of their offspring.