Japanese-themed garden a welcome oasis in Shah Alam

(Far left) A view of the moon bridge at Selangor Japan Friendship Garden in Shah Alam. — Photos: SS KANESAN/The Star

A burbling stream and traditional Japanese tsukubai basin are among the elements featured in the Selangor Japan Friendship Garden in Section 14, Shah Alam.

The Japanese-themed garden, which spans 2.42ha, has been welcoming visitors from near and far for about a month now.

On a Friday evening, a few office workers were spotted sitting on a bench and watching koi fish swim under the water lilies.

Friends Nor Fariza Mohamad Norzan, 27, and Farhana Taiban, 23, have made it a weekly ritual to take a walk in the garden, appreciate nature and just relax.

Fariza, a government employee, said at the end of a work week, she just wanted to escape from the concrete jungle and enjoy the calming atmosphere.

“It is nice to be able to remove our shoes, sit on a wooden platform by the edge of a lake and splash water with our feet.

“It is fun and this is how we de-stress, ” she added.

She said the architecture of the engetsukyou or moon bridge, a bridge with a semi-circle shape near the pond in the garden, inspired her.

On March 12, the then Shah Alam mayor Datuk Haris Kasim opened the garden with Japan Information Service 3rd secretary from the Japan Embassy, Iwai Imari.

Haris said the East Lake of Shah Alam Lake Gardens had been designed with cultural elements to signify the mutual friendship and strong cooperation between Selangor and Japan.

He added that the Japanese landscape theme along with bridges and bonsai trees boasted features that were ideal for wedding photo shoots.

Among those visiting the garden, built at a cost of RM3.8mil, was Maggie Tan from Seri Kembangan.

She said she learned about the garden from an article in The Star and felt the trip had been worth it.

Her friends, Yen Wong and Alice Loke, loved the Zen garden, a crafted Japanese rock garden made up of gravel, large rocks and a bonsai tree in the centre.

Another visitor, Nurul Liyana, said she hoped Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) would add more colourful flowers that bloomed and could last for a while.

Nurul, an employee in a non-governmental organisation, said flowers would brighten up the garden.

“There are some pink flowers similar to the cherry blossom in one part of the garden.

“It would be good to have more of them to remind people of Arashiyama, a district on the outskirts of Kyoto, ” she opined.

MBSA acting mayor Mohd Rashidi Ruslan said the garden offered a place for people to sit, enjoy a sense of peace and reflect on nature’s beauty.

“Gardens like this will help reduce stress, which means less medical and healthcare costs, ” he said.

Other Japanese-inspired features at the garden are torii gateways made of wooden poles, wasen — a traditional Japanese boat — and a wooden teahouse similar to a gazebo.

Open to the public from 10am to 7pm, the Selangor Japan Friendship Garden has ample parking space and entry is free.

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