Where To See The Best Chrysanthemums In Tokyo

These eye-popping exhibitions will change your opinion of those humble fall flowers forever! Here’s where to see the best chrysanthemums in Tokyo:

New for 2019! JINDAI BOTANICAL GARDEN

It’s worth the trip out to Chofu, just to see the cartload of fox tails

But they also have the full complement of pagodas, Elvis pompadours, perfect specimens of many varieties, and an odd category, which is cascades of blooms in the shape of Shizuoka Prefecture WHY

Dates: October 25 – November 17th (2019)

Admission: Adults: ¥500, Children: ¥250

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New for 2019! HIBIYA PARK

Hibiya Park has lots of every kind of chrysanthemum you can imagine, but the thing not to miss here is the various bonsai categories

These Xmas-tree-shaped ones come in every color

But there are lots of other styles too, including ones that have been trained to look like trees clinging to rustic cliff faces…

And miniature landscapes, where chrysanthemums are king

Of course, they have the usual perfect examples of unusual types and colors

…including these, which are the tallest freaking chrysanthemums I’ve ever seen (oyaji for scale)

Dates: November 1-17 (2019)

Admission: Free

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YUSHIMA TENJIN SHRINE

Life-sized historical figures, made from...chrysanthemums!

EVery year, Yushima Tenjin Shrine serves up a new diorama of life-sized historical figures, made from living chrysanthemums (These are the ones from 2014, but every year they’re just as great)

Great balls o' chrysanthemums, each of these is ONE PLANT.

Great balls o’ chrysanthemums, each of these is ONE PLANT.

Prize specimens vie for top honors. This style requires the grower to train the plant into three stalks of exactly the same height, then coax three perfect flowers to bloom at the exact same time.

Prize specimens vie for top honors. This style requires the grower to train the plant into three stalks of exactly the same height, then coax three perfect flowers to bloom at the exact same time.

The Elvis bouffant is a Thing.

The Elvis bouffant is a Thing.

The shrine bridge, with its fancy on.

The shrine bridge, with its fancy on.

Dates: November 1-23

Admission: Free

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SHINJUKU GYOUEN GARDEN

You can see this one for free, advertising the Thousand Bloom Chrysanthemum goodness inside the gates

Yes, each of these is just ONE PLANT I'm seriously not kidding.

These are them. They’d be amazing enough if they were just giant living bouquets, but the truly astounding thing is that each of these is ONE PLANT

I knew you wouldn’t believe me, so I took a picture of one from underneath. The single stem is that one highlighted in the middle – the stem-like things on the corners are the metal supports for the training trellis

Of course they have magnificent Elvis bouffants, in every shape and color

And acres of fluffball perfection

As well as some technically challenging styles, like these. Think about it: how do you get an unruly shrub to produce exactly 25 flowers, blooming on straight stems in a perfect circle, angled for ideal viewing pleasure?

But one of the things I like best about the chrysanthemums at Shinjuku Gyouen is the displays that are part of the landscape, like this beauty set along my favorite strolling path

If you look closely, you’ll see that they’ve chosen subtly different colors of flowers to enhance the sense of depth

And this one perking up the Japanese garden features varieties that have a mix of purple and gold in their petals

Admission: ¥500

Dates: November 1-15 (2019)

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KAMEIDO TENJIN SHRINE

In addition to the bouffants, balls and prize specimens, the Kameido Shrine features this model of Skytree, with the real thing helpfully standing around for comparison in the background

It also has some nice displays that make great insta-backdrops

Dates: October 26 – November 24 (2019)

Admission: Free

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MEIJI SHRINE

What the Meiji Shrine chrysanthemums lack in artistic innovation, they make up in perfection. I dare the gods to find any flaw at all in those white ones.

What the Meiji Shrine chrysanthemums lack in artistic innovation, they make up in perfection. I dare the gods to find any flaw at all in those white ones.

Dates: October 27 – November 23 (2019)

Admission: Free

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Nearly every big shrine (and some temples) host chrysanthemum competitions in the month of November. If you’d like to see the chrysanthemums the next time you’re in Tokyo, directions and maps to the Yushima Tenjin Shrine, Kameido Shrine, Meiji Shrine, Yasukuni Shrine, Shinjuku Gyouen Garden, Senso-ji Temple or any other entertaining shrines & temples or beautiful gardens, maps are are on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

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