A taste of Japan at Gardens by the Bay

(From right) National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, CEO of Gardens by the Bay Felix Loh, Gardens' 50 millionth visitor Muhammad Khairi and his family add the finishing touch to a hanging display in Floral Fantasy.
The 20,000 sq m minimalist Serene Garden was created by Japanese landscape designer Junichi Inada, and includes plants such as podocarpus, juniper and bamboo, as well as 160 rocks from Shikoku island. It opened to the public yesterday, although a teahouse is still being built in front of its pond. It comes as the Gardens look to cater to rising visitor numbers, having welcomed their 50 millionth visitor last month since opening in 2012.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
The 20,000 sq m minimalist Serene Garden was created by Japanese landscape designer Junichi Inada, and includes plants such as podocarpus, juniper and bamboo, as well as 160 rocks from Shikoku island. It opened to the public yesterday, although a tea
(From right) National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, CEO of Gardens by the Bay Felix Loh, Gardens' 50 millionth visitor Muhammad Khairi and his family add the finishing touch to a hanging display in Floral Fantasy.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
(From right) National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, CEO of Gardens by the Bay Felix Loh, Gardens' 50 millionth visitor Muhammad Khairi and his family add the finishing touch to a hanging display in Floral Fantasy.
The 20,000 sq m minimalist Serene Garden was created by Japanese landscape designer Junichi Inada, and includes plants such as podocarpus, juniper and bamboo, as well as 160 rocks from Shikoku island. It opened to the public yesterday, although a teahouse is still being built in front of its pond. It comes as the Gardens look to cater to rising visitor numbers, having welcomed their 50 millionth visitor last month since opening in 2012.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Japanese-inspired Serene Garden opens; four more themed landscapes to come in April

Gardens by the Bay is bringing a taste of the Land of the Rising Sun to Singapore with a new Japanese-inspired attraction.

The minimalist Serene Garden was created by Japanese landscape designer Junichi Inada, and includes plants such as podocarpus, juniper and bamboo, as well as 160 rocks from Shikoku island.

By April 14 next year, there will also be a new Floral Fantasy attraction at Bayfront precinct featuring four themed landscapes.

It comes as the Gardens look to cater to rising visitor numbers, having welcomed their 50 millionth visitor last month since opening in 2012.

Annual visitorship is expected to hit 12 million by the end of this year, with half the visits by Singaporeans.

The 20,000 sq m Serene Garden opened to the public yesterday, although a teahouse is still being built in front of its pond.

Floral Fantasy will feature a landscape called Dance with flowering plants, such as orchids, suspended from the ceiling and moving in a synchronised fashion. Other flowers on display include hydrangeas and gerberas.

The exhibit will also have a 4D multisensory ride, following the journey of a dragonfly's flight path through Gardens by the Bay.

The Bayfront precinct, outside Bayfront MRT station, has been revamped to include a 1,850 sq m pavilion, which is expected to host weekend pop-up markets and other community events. There will also be a cafe, an additional visitor centre and ticketing hub.

"Many of our visitors have given feedback that Gardens by the Bay is getting crowded... especially during weekends," said chief executive Felix Loh, explaining why the Gardens' offerings are being spread out.

While the Gardens declined to disclose the cost of the new attractions, senior director of operations Ng Boon Gee said conceptualisation of the Serene Garden started about two years ago, and that the attractions in the Bayfront precinct were created to match some existing structures built for the SG50 celebrations three years ago.

He added that visitor numbers of 12 million this year are higher than visitorships of other famous gardens around the world such as Britain's Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew - which draws over 2.1 million visitors each year.

Project manager Muhammad Khairi, 32, who was the Gardens' 50 millionth visitor, said his family goes there about three times a year and they look forward to seeing the new attractions.

"(They) will mean more things for us to do when we visit, as well as encourage more Singaporeans to come and enjoy themselves amid nature," he said.

"We like the new Serene Garden as it is more quiet and gives us more space to roam, and our children to run around as well."

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong visited the new attractions yesterday during a media preview.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 25, 2018, with the headline 'A taste of Japan at Gardens by the Bay'. Print Edition | Subscribe