The Bellagio Resort reopened their doors this weekend after a 72-day State-wide shutdown of businesses. That means the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens also opened as well. The Conservatory opened with a new Japanese Spring Garden display called “Japan Journey: Magic of Kansai.” In an unusual move that was originally designed to promote the 2020 Olympics in Japan, this display is scheduled to run all summer and close in late September.
Celebrating the exquisite beauty and tradition of Japan, Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens unveils its stunning spring display, on view through June 15, featuring for the first time an intricate replica of the Osaka Castle, one of Japan’s most iconic landmarks.
The Conservatory takes guests on a cultural journey through many of the most vibrant elements associated with the Land of the Rising Sun, including delicate cherry blossoms, elegant butterflies and thousands of fresh tulips, calla lilies and chrysanthemums. The spring display, featuring 65,000 fresh flowers, honors nature’s awakening and the bloom of a new season with Japanese influences around every turn. Butterflies, a sign of good luck in love in Japanese culture, are found flitting throughout the display, while a traditional tea house honors the grace, etiquette and hospitality of the age-old Japanese tea ceremony.
“Incorporating a replica of the stunning Osaka Castle into our Conservatory allows us the unique opportunity to share a piece of Japanese culture with tens of thousands of visitors each day,” said Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “We aim to spark conversation and curiosity about this remarkable country and this storied castle.”
Upon entering the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the stunning 30-foot-high Osaka Castle replica stands in the center of the West Bed. Recreated in precise detail, the Edo-era landmark features shining golden trim and is flanked by two Japanese-style stone lanterns, illuminating the path to the castle. Colorful butterflies flutter throughout the bed which includes intricate topiaries made up of 2,000 fresh-cut carnations. Just below the castle, a waterfall flows into a wide pond accented by three lively fountains, a nod to Bellagio’s world-renowned water feature along the Las Vegas Strip.
To ensure the display accurately conveyed the historical and cultural significance of the iconic Osaka Castle, designer Ed Libby and Bellagio’s horticulture team collaborated with Japan-based producer Noriko Minai and her team at Dentsu Live Inc. to bring the vision to life with a precise combination of colors and flowers. The creative process included several months of reviewing detailed visual assets and models of the castle to create a masterpiece that was true to life and also uniquely Bellagio.
Noriko Minai, Chief Producer at Dentsu Live Inc., said, “I am honored to be part of this project, which will attract thousands of visitors in Las Vegas. It is a very precious opportunity for us to introduce one of Japan’s historical and cultural treasures to visitors coming from all over the world. I hope those who enjoy this spring display become more interested in visiting Osaka and Japan.”
As visitors enter the East Bed of the Conservatory, they are greeted by the beautiful blooms of cherry blossom trees, lining a stone pathway accented with spring gates. As they wander through the gates, the sweet scent of delicate cherry blossoms fills the air, while two massive Japanese paradise flycatcher birds “fly” overhead, in perpetual flight.
In the South Bed, glowing Japanese celebration lanterns hang over a waterfall amid a collection of intricately designed pottery. Decorated with lush green, pink and blue lentils, the color palette of the vases evokes the signature hues of spring. Four-foot-tall lanterns are suspended overhead, glowing over the graceful koi swimming in the pond below.
Nearby in the North Bed, two 18-foot red-crowned Japanese cranes tower over blooming lotus flowers in various stages of life. The cranes are inspired by the popular One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, one of a series of ukiyo-e prints by Japanese artist Hiroshige. In Japanese culture, the crane symbolizes longevity and strength, while the lotus flowers are honored for their ability to bloom from the mud of a murky pond – a process that symbolizes enlightenment. Designed to replicate a legendary tea house that debuted at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago, a traditional tea house sits just beyond the pond, set for a time-honored tea ceremony.
With more than 19 million residents, Osaka is the second largest city in Japan and the center of commerce in the western part of the nation. Dating back to the 7th century, Osaka is rapidly becoming a global tourist destination renowned for its great food, history and people. MGM Resorts has declared Osaka as the number one candidate for the development of an integrated casino resort after Japan legalized casinos in 2018. Osaka has been chosen as the host city of the World Expo 2025, with MGM Resorts as the proud sponsor of the bid. The representation of the Osaka Castle within the Bellagio Conservatory is a celebration of this wonderful Japanese city designed for millions of Las Vegas visitors to enjoy daily.
Open and free to the Public
The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is free to the public.
(Photos by: Tom Donoghue @photomanlv)