Many festivals and events have already been cancelled or postponed due to spread of coronavirus.

cancelled Miyako Odori(Cherry Dance), Minamiza Theatre, Kyoto

Maiko and geiko dance performances

Advance tickets are available from overseas at:

14 April-7 June KIMONO: Fashioning Identities

This exhibition shows kimono from the 13th century to today

Venue: Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)

seasonal flowers:

cherry blossom forecasts for 2020 (Japanese version only):

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter peonies

The Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden
(旧芝離宮恩賜庭園) in Tokyo
on January 3rd in 2012
Winter peonies including Kan-botan(寒牡丹) and Fuyu-botan(冬牡丹) are now at their peak at many gardens in Japan.

The Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden 
on January 3rd in 2012
 Generally, Kan-botan(寒牡丹) is a kind of peonies that blooms both in spring and autumn. Gardeners make peony flowers bloom from late October to January by nipping buds in spring and leaving buds in autumn.

Hamarikyu Gardens
(浜離宮恩賜庭園, Hama-rikyu Onshi Teien) in Tokyo
on January 10th in 2011
 In the Edo Period, gardeners developed a winter-blooming variety of peonies. Kan-botan flowers are sensitive to meteorological conditions, so the rate of flower set is up to 20%. This species is difficult to cultivate. Few gardens have this species.
The Jindai Botanical Garden
(神代植物公園, Jindai shokubutsu koen) in Chofu City, Tokyo
on January 8th in 2011
Fuyu-botan(冬牡丹)  is a spring-blooming peony that is forced to grow faster in a glasshouse.

Kan-botan flower is smaller than spring-blooming one, but Fuyu-botan flower is about the same size as spring-blooming one. Kan-botan tree is almost bare and Fuyu-botan tree has green leaves in winter.

Ueno Toshogu Shrine on January 10th in 2004
Ueno Toshogu Shrine on January 10th in 2004

The Botan Park(ぼたん苑) at Ueno Toshogu Shrine(上野東照宮) in Tokyo is open from January 1st to February 19th. The period can vary with meteorological conditions. The park has many Fuyu-botan trees and few Kan-botan trees.

Each tree has a straw cover for frost protection.

photo by 季節の花 300

The Shin-en Peony Garden(神苑ぼたん庭園) in the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine(鶴岡八幡宮) is open from January 1st to late February. The period can vary with meteorological conditions. It seems that this garden has Fuyu-botan trees.

At Shakko-ji Temple(石光寺) in Nara Prefecture, Kan-botan flowers are at their peak from early December to early January. This temple has 300 Kan-botan trees of 36 different kinds.

Yotaku-ji Temple
Yotaku-ji Temple(永澤寺) in Hyogo Prefecture is famous for Hanashobu(iris). Its Fuyu-botan peonies are also beautiful.

Each tree has a straw cover for snow protection.

Yotaku-ji Temple

photo by 神戸観光壁紙写真集

peonies at Yotaku-ji on January 25 in 2008

A shiba dog is waiting for its owner who is taking pictures.
The shiba dog(柴犬, Shiba Inu) is the smallest of the six original Japanese dog breeds which have been designated as a national natural treasure in Japan. DNA analysis suggests that endemic East Asian dog breeds including shiba are the oldest ones in the world.
Many people are keeping shiba dogs in Japan. I also like the shiba. Its curled tail is cute!

 snow-covered  Yotaku-ji

photo by  高画質壁紙写真集無料壁紙

kadomatsu at Nishinomiya Shrine
photo by 神戸観光壁紙写真集
Ornamental cabbages(葉牡丹, habotan) have been used as a ground cover plant forNew Year's decorations since the middle of the Edo Period. Habotan means "leaves like a peony."

photo by 季節の花 300

Ornamental Cabbage / edenpictures

In recent years, miniature ornamental cabbages are very popular as a cut flower or a plant suited to group plantings. A bouquet made of the cabbages looks like a rose bouquet.


  1. Thank you for your post wtih the beautiful pictures, Ichinen, I read it with great interest! The peonies are my most favourite flowers, I didn't know the were blooming in winter!! It's almost my birthday, so I think this is a beautiful present!!
    I've made them in miniature a time ago, perhaps I'm writing a blog for you to show them.
    Happy New Year and greetings,

    1. I'm glad you like my post and happy birthday!
      I saw your miniature pieonies. it's so realistic!
      Thank you for introducing my blog.

  2. I really love your post! Japanese peonies blooming in winter are so beautiful.
    Is there also peonies that bloom in winter in America?

    1. Thank you for your comment, and I'm sorry for my late reply. Gardeners make spring-blooming peonies(or spring and fall blooming peonies) bloom in winter. It requires special skills. It seems that there are hardly any such gardeners in countries other than Japan.

  3. Do you export your winter peonies? They are so very beautiful.

  4. Thank you for your comment, and I'm very sorry for my late reply!
    Winter peonies(Kan-botan and Fuyu-botan) are available in Japan, but they need highly skill to cultivate. Though trees with flower buds are also available in winter, they are very fragile and are extremely likely to suffer damage in overseas transit. So peony growers don't ship them internationally.