Outline of Exhibition

Traditional Antique Chrysanthemum

The chrysanthemum is a representative Japanese garden plant. It is not a plant native to Japan, but in the Heian period, chrysanthemum flower parties were already in vogue at the Imperial Court, and it is considered that the chrysanthemum, along with other cultural items, was brought into Japan from China during the Ritsuryo period.

In the Heian and Kamakura periods, special flowers were cultivated by the ruling class due to the aesthetics unique to Japan. The “Saga-giku” which has brush-like petals was cultivated exclusively in Daikakuji Temple in Kyoto, and the “Ise-giku” which has petals hanging down was cultivated in connection with the Kokushi (official) of Ise and Ise Grand Shrine. The chrysanthemum had gradually established its privileged position for parties in the ruling class, in fine arts and as a symbol of agelessness and immortality. In the middle of the early modern ages and thereafter, the chrysanthemum became popularized among the general public, and flower gardens in which a variety of garden species of chrysanthemum were planted and exhibitions of chrysanthemum works became prevalent. Such popular trends were supported by the “Higo-giku” which has sparse petals and the “Edo-giku” which has petals that change after coming into bloom. The traditional medium flowered species including the above types of chrysanthemums and the “Choji-giku” which has a hemispherical ball of petals at the center of the flower are called “classical chrysanthemums”.

At the Botanical Garden of Everyday Life, these “classical chrysanthemums” have been collected and exhibited since 1999.The theme of this year’s Traditional Antique Chrysanthemum exhibition is “Propagators of the Chrysanthemum,” with information panels on how chrysanthemums, originally used by samurai families in events throughout the year, were brought to the general public by Sugamo gardeners in the Bunka and Bunsei periods (i.e. the early decades of the 19th century), how copied manuscripts on their cultivation spread throughout the regions, and how set cultivation methods came to be established.

Period Nov. 3 (Tue) - Nov. 29 (Sun), 2015
Venue Botanical Garden of Everyday Life, National Museum of Japanese History
Admissions ¥100
Groups of 20 or more: ¥50 per person
* Free admission for children junior high school age and younger
* Free admission for high school students every Saturday
Hours 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (no entrance after 4:00 p.m.)
Closed Nov. 9 (Mon), 16 (Mon) , and 24 (Tue)
Sponsor National Museum of Japanese History

Exhibition Lineup

The classical chrysanthemums collected and cultivated/bred at the Botanical Garden of Everyday Life (17 varieties of Saga-giku, 12 varieties of Ise-giku <including 3 varieties of Matsuzaka-giku> , 32 varieties of Higo-giku, 35 varieties of Edo-giku, and 10 varieties of Choji-giku) and 10 varieties of Oshu-giku which were created around the middle of the early modern ages, as were Edo-giku and the Higo-giku, and also about 20 varieties of the new seedling flowers that were cultivated from seeds at the Botanical Garden are cultivated in either size-7 or size-9 flower pots and exhibited around the arbor and in the greenhouse and the marsh-reed screen exhibition site in the Botanical Garden.

Taking “Propagators of the Chrysanthemum” as their theme, the panels also show how Sugamo gardeners in the Bunka and Bunsei periods popularized chrysanthemums by publicizing growing methods for Edo chrysanthemums and putting in place means of transporting them long distances. Also shown is how works on chrysanthemum cultivation spread throughout the regions by way of copied manuscripts, and how set types of chrysanthemum vases and chrysanthemum knots were developed.

  • Exhibited varieties: 136 varieties in total (including about 20 varieties of original Rekihaku)
  • Exhibited pots: About 300 pots





Ten-no-Warai (Rekihaku original)

Ise-giku (including Matsuzaka-giku)




(Rekihaku original)





(Rekihaku original)





Shitaya Hanakawado


Midaregami (Rekihaku original)



Midaregami (Rekihaku original)


Note: Please note that items in the exhibition are subject to change.