The Japanese calendar used to be divided into 72 microseasons, each named for a different natural event that was commonly seen around that time. In the middle of October is Kiku no hana hiraku or “The Chrysanthemums Bloom”. Chrysanthemums have been grown in Japan for over 1,500 years, and have even been adopted as the crest of the Imperial Family. In many gardens one can see their blossoms stretching out in brilliant displays of color.

Recently, a Japanese research group was successful in genetically engineering the first-ever blue chrysanthemums, adding a new color to the flower’s palette.

In addition, in places where the flowers are farmed, such as in Aichi prefecture, local tourism boards have created “Nighttime Chrysanthemum Illuminations” in which the greenhouses filled with flowers are illuminated at night, creating a gorgeous view for visitors.

The National Diet Library has more in-depth information about the traditional Japanese calendar, its origins, and the relationship to the modern-day calendar. To learn more, please visit their site: https://www.ndl.go.jp/koyomi/e/

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