A Flower Lover's Guide to Tokyo
40 Walks for All Seasons
Japan is well known for its sensitivity to the seasons, and its appreciation of the natural world has long been celebrated in the nation's literature and visual arts. Many of the plants acclaimed in the poetry of millennia ago are still enjoyed in parks, gardens, and flower shows today.
In A Flower Lover's Guide to Tokyo, author Sumiko Enbutsu has selected fifteen plants on the basis of both their iconic status in Japanese culture and their blooming season in order to provide all-year-round enjoyment for flower lovers of all nationalities. Starting with the national flower, the cherry blossom, she explains the historical and cultural background to each flower, and outlines easy-to-follow walking routes of the best spots to enjoy the in and around Tokyo.
While gazing on flowers in full bloom is a joy in itself, the experience of seeing them in their natural setting will be enriched by understanding many of the cultural references associated with them. Why do iris plantations often feature a zigzag bridge? Why is the chrysanthemum associated with longevity, and also with the imperial family of Japan? Why is the cherry blossom so beloved by the Japanese?
This delightful guide will be appreciated both by those who know Japan well, and by those visiting Tokyo for the first Time. It will also provide inspiration for devotees of Japanese art and literature.
About the Authors
Sumiko Enbutsu, a recipient of the Remarkable Alumnae Award from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, is the author of several books in English on Tokyo's history, culture and nature, among them Tokyo: Exploring the City of the Shogun. Besides being a keen walker, she has worked for the preservation of historically important buildings, as well as coordinating cross-cultural exchange programs including the special exhibition Kiku: The Art of the Japanese Chrysanthemum at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, held in 2007.
Michiru Unae was born in Hokkaido and educated in architectural engineering. As an architect and photographer, he is fascinated by Japanese traditional wooden architecture and has focused his camera on the medieval Japanese capital of Kamukura. Unae's work appears in a number of Japanese capital of Kamakura. Unae's work appears in a number of Japanese magazines. His photographs and writings on Kamakura were published in book form in Otona no Kamakura Sampo: Hana to Matsuri (Walks in Kamakura: Flowers and Festivals).