The chrysanthemum has been a familiar flower to Japanese as the symbol of the Imperial Family and a symbol of longevity and rejuvenation. The Chrysanthemum Festival is held annually in autumn from mid October to mid November in many shrines, temples and gardens throughout Japan. It is said that this festival originated in the Edo period (1603–1867) when ordinary people started to grow the chrysanthemum as a hobby.

Exhibition at Sensoji-temple, Asakusa

At the festival, both individuals and groups of chrysanthemum lovers exhibit their flowers. The number of flowers displayed at a large festival can be over five thousand. Usually, the best quality flowers are given awards such as the Minister’s Awards and the Local Governor’s Awards.

The admission to most of the chrysanthemum festivals is free. Visitors can see different kinds of chrysanthemums exhibited in various ways and forms. The common styles displayed at the festival are a cascade style called “Kenganzukuri,” and “Senrinzaki,” which means “A thousand flowers.” Senrinzaki is a way of growing hundreds of flowers, or sometimes over a thousand, from a single plant over a lattice. Another unique display would be “Kiku Ningyo,” which are life-size dolls wearing clothes made of chrysanthemums. The dolls usually represent historical figures and famous characters from old stories. Although it is on a declining trend, you can still see “Kiku Ningyo” at some of the festivals.

Kiku Ningyo at Yushimatenjin shrine.

The Chrysanthemum Festival in Tokyo

Listed below are places in Tokyo that hold the Chrysanthemum Festival every year. Avoid the last week of the festival as flowers tend to be withered.

Hibiya Park (日比谷公園) Admission: Free

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2 min walk from Hibiya Sta. (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Chiyoda Line & Toei Mita Line)

 

Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) Admission: Adult 200yen, Child 50yen

5 min walk from Shinjukugyoen Sta. (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line)

5 min walk from Shinjuku Sanchome Sta. (Toei Shinjuku Line)

 

Yushima Tenjin (湯島天神) Admission: Free

2 min walk from Yushima Sta. (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)

5 min walk from Ueno Hirokoji Sta. (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)

5 min walk from Ueno Okachimachi Sta. (Toei Oedo Line)

 

Sugamo (巣鴨) Admission: Free

2 min from Sugamo Sta. (JR Yamanote Line)

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Kameido Tenjinsha (亀戸天神社) Admission: Free

15 min walk from Kameido Sta. (JR Sobu Line)

15 min walk from Kinshicho Sta. (JR Sobu Line & Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line)

 

Sensoji (浅草寺) Admission: Free

5 min walk from Asakusa Sta. (Tobu Isesaki Line)

5 min walk from Asakusa Sta. (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)

 

Takahatafudoson (高幡不動尊) Admission: Free

5 min walk from Takahadafudoson Sta. (Keio Keio Line & Tama Monorail)