Outline of Exhibition

Traditional Antique Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums, one of Japan's common horticultural plants, are not native to Japan; however, we know that in the Heian period (794to 1185) Kikkano-en (chrysanthemum-viewing garden parties) were the vogue in the Imperial Court. It is thought that the chrysanthemum was first introduced into Japan from China, together with other cultural items, in the Ritsuryo period(From the latter half of the 7th century to the 10th century).

During the Heian and Kamakura periods (1185 to 1333), special chrysanthemums were developed by members of the ruling class, based on the Japanese people’s sense of beauty. For example, the Saga giku chrysanthemum, which has brush-like petals, was cultivated exclusively in the Daikakuji Temple in Kyoto; and Ise giku, with its drooping petals, was cultivated in connection with the Kokushi (provincial governor) of Ise (present-day Mie Prefecture) and the Ise Jingu Shrine. In this way, the chrysanthemum gradually established its privileged position among the ruling class, for use in parties, as material for artistic crafts, and as a symbol of eternal youth and immortality.

In the middle of Early Modern Japan(Edo period,1800), chrysanthemums gradually became popular among the common people; for example, flower gardens with a variety of chrysanthemum varieties were created, and exhibitions of artworks incorporating chrysanthemums became prevalent. Among the varieties contributing to this popularity were Higo giku, which has sparse petals, and Edo giku, whose petals change shape after blooming, as well as Choji giku, with its hemispherical center. These traditional medium-sized flowers are called Koten giku (classical chrysanthemums).

The Botanical Garden of Everyday Life has been collecting and exhibiting these classical chrysanthemums since 2000. We will exhibit roughly 120 varieties of classical Japanese chrysanthemums (koten giku), which have unique features and are cultivated in different regions of Japan; and roughly 50 original varieties that have been cultivated from seed at the National Museum of Japanese History, such as Saga giku and Higo giku. In this fiscal year, under the theme of “ranking (banzuke) of chrysanthemums,” we will exhibit, using panels, the ranking of Japanese irises and chrysanthemums, and illustrate ranking lists of chrysanthemums in the Edo period (1600 - 1868) and the Meiji period (1868 - 1912), as well as the ranking lists created by flower suppliers of Hachinohe and Dangozaka in modern times.


Period Oct 27 (Tue), 2020- Nov 29 (Sun), 2020
Venue Botanical Garden of Everyday Life, National Museum of Japanese History
Admissions ¥100
* Free admission for children high school age and younger
Hours 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (no entrance after 4:00 p.m.)
Closed Nov. 2 (Mon) , 9 (Mon) ,16 (Mon) , and 24 (Tue)
Sponsor National Museum of Japanese History

Exhibition Lineup

- Exhibited varieties: 170 varieties in total (including about 50 varieties of original Rekihaku)
- Exhibited pots: About 500 pots










Ise-giku (including Matsuzaka-giku)


(Rekihaku original)