Chrysanthemums at Omiya Hachiman - 2016
Last year I discovered how good Tokyo was for flowers. Not that I'm a real flower buff, but in the city you can find azaleas, wisteria, lots of places for cherry blossoms and chrysanthemums. I seriously doubt that is a comprehensive list though. But as we are now in November, the flower of the moment is the chrysanthemum. Tokyo has been in a quite a cold snap recently, so 2016 has not been the best year for it.
I live in Tokyo's Suginami ward, and nearby there is a shrine, Omiya Hachiman, which is known for its annual display of chrysanthemums. As I already mentioned, this year has been quite cold so the flowers weren't in the best of shape, but they weren't that bad either. While taking pictures one of the growers who had his flowers on displayed came over and started chatting to me. It was really interesting talking to him as he taught me a little about the flowers. One thing that did surprise me about the display was that there were even bonsai chrysanthemum. They were tiny flowers!
The chrysanthemum is most famous in Japan, especially due to its connection with the Imperial family. However it is also famous in many other countries such as China, Italy, the USA and in my own Australia. In Australia the flowers bloom in May and they are sometimes given to mothers on Mother's Day.
If you ever want to visit a local shrine in Tokyo, Omiya Hachiman is highly recommended, especially in November for this great festival. And as the shrine is in a residential area and surrounded by trees, it is usually pretty quiet. There is also a dojo there for practitioners of kyudo (archery) which seems to be in constant use, or at least people have always been there whenever I visit.