Culture · Japanese Language · Japanese Pop Culture · Living in Japan · Pictures

Hydrangeas

This past weekend for our anniversary Jun and I went to a small amusement park in Tokyo called Toshimaen. Our only reason for picking that particular amusement park was that we had some free tickets that were going to expire soon. Good thing that we had free tickets because it would have been a little disappointing to have spent $30 on a poor man’s Disney Land. We still had a lot of fun riding the few rides that we did, but we ended up spending the most time at the petting zoo where we held thee-day-old chicks until they fell asleep in our hands.

The real attraction (sorry, no pun intended) was that there happened to be a Hydrangea Festival where there were “150 different types of hydrangeas and 10,000 blossoms.” The Japanese word for hydrangea is あじさい(紫陽花) and the meaning roughly translates to “gathering blue/purple flowers.” Hydrangeas are a floral symbol of the Japanese rainy season which is roughly from May – June. In the rainy season, snails are often found among hydrangeas with raindrops, so the Japanese think the sight is pretty and refreshing. Hydrangeas appeared in poems of the Nara period (710 – 794), but they were not so popular until the Edo period (1603-1867), because the changeable flower color was thought to be immoral for the samurai culture. Samurai were trained to remain loyal to the shogun (governor of Japan in the Edo Period), but because they associated the changing flower color of Hydrangeas with a change of loyalty, they did not like these flowers. Now they have large festivals dedicated to the flower. Interesting culture.

Here my Hydrangea pictures from that day.

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3 thoughts on “Hydrangeas

  1. Here in America we have to have plenty of iron in the soil (some people put iron nails in the soil) to get blue hydrangenas–do you have to do that in Japan?

  2. I don’t know about putting nails in the soil…Jun says that there are many ways to change the color of the flowers based on the dirt so “surely they are doing something.”

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