Bring the Outside In: A Quick Guide to Buying Indoor Plants in Tokyo

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Plants have been proven to help with general wellbeing. No, they don’t actually purify the air around you but there are still tons of benefits to owning a few. They are an easy way to decorate your apartment and when properly taken care of, can last you for years.

Back in 2016, we wrote about how you can spruce up your balcony. We shouldn’t, however, to assume that every Tokyoite’s abode comes equipped with an outdoor space. If that sounds like you and you still find yourself wanting to add bit of green inside, here is a beginner-friendly guide to acquiring houseplants in Tokyo.

Before You Shop

Photo by Nicole Dodd on Unsplash

The capital is famous for its teeny-tiny apartments. While it’s not too bad to live in one (though it takes a lot of getting used to), you have to learn to maximize your space and that sometimes means sacrificing a few things. When it comes to plants, it’s important to keep in mind that some will require repotting into bigger containers or pots every 12 to 18 months and will take up a little more space as the years go on. You need to think ahead: How big of a plant can you keep in proper light?

Considering the compact characteristic of most Tokyo homes, naturally, it’s better to go for smaller plants such succulents. Other non-invasive plants might be a good option too, but anything in the vine plant family might be tough if you can’t give it space to hang, either along a window sill, a tall bookshelf or a loft. Finally, know your windows and see how much light you’re getting every day, whether you’re facing north or south, etc. These details will help pick out plants that will be happy with no matter where you decide to keep them, either by the window or in the shade.

The Best Houseplants for Tokyoites

While some of us would love to recreate a jungle in our living room, to keep the plants alive takes more than just wanting. In consideration of everything we’ve mentioned about weather, windows and more, here is a short list of some of the best plants to home in your Tokyo apartment.

For a full guide on how to take care of various plants as well as to check the best living conditions for each of them, check out this comprehensive encyclopedia.

Where to Buy

Most common house plants can be found at select interior and lifestyle stores like Actus and Biotop. Small plants can be brought home easily by public transport, but bigger ones require a car. The selection is fairly limited, but might be more accessible to you than a home center.

If you can take a trip to a home center near you, you’ll find that you have a lot more options when it comes to house plants. They are also a go-to place to shop for any supplies you might need to take care of them, from pots to scissors. D2 Home Center is the most popular one, notably for having a location a short walk from Tamachi Station, but there are many scattered around in more residential areas outside the city center.

Your next option is to head straight for nurseries. This Japanese website offers an extensive list of the best ones in Japan. You can search by location and type of nursery you’re looking for. For flowers especially, you can also take a walk around your neighborhood to see if you have a shop nearby.

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