15 Most Popular Japanese Flowers and Their Meanings

She wore flowers in her hair and carried magic secrets in her eyes.

You can say that this famous line perfectly defines Japanese flowers as every Japanese flower has its own secret messages.

Japan is a country with a vibrant culture and heritage, and flowers are an important aspect of this culture.

From the beautiful cherry blossom to the vibrant chrysanthemum, flower symbolism plays a significant role in Japanese art, literature, and everyday life.

With the change of seasons, different types of flowers appear with their own beauty and charm in Japan.

And each flower has its own language, which is known as “Hanakotoba” in Japanese.

Learning the name of these Japanese flowers and their meanings will help you appreciate the nature, art, and poetry of Japan more deeply.

So, let’s get to the main point without any further delay.

15 Most beautiful Japanese Flowers and Their Meanings

From peaceful tea ceremonies to mournful memorial services, you can see the use of flowers everywhere in Japan.

Here you will learn about some of Japan’s most stunning flowers with their secret meaning and symbolism.

1. Sakura – Cherry blossom

Cherry blossom, which is known as Sakura in Japanese, is the national flower of the country, also the most popular flower symbol in Japan.

Cherry blossom Pink

Even a festival (hanami) is held throughout Japan to celebrate its arrival in spring.

This flower symbolizes hope and renewal. It also represents the beauty of heart and accomplishment.

White cherry blossoms

The light pink and white blossoms adorn cherry trees in spring, creating spectacular displays all around nature.

Japanese cherry blossom only blooms for a short period of time.

Purple Cherry blossom

Therefore, in Japanese poetry and art, this flower is also used to indicate transience or the fleeting nature of life.

2. Kiku – Chrysanthemum

The origin of Kiku or chrysanthemum is actually china, but like Sakura, it is also a symbol of Japan.

The plant produces large, showy flowers in autumn that look like pompoms or star-shaped daisies. Because of the larger than the average size, it is also called Garden Mums!

Chrysanthemum in Basket

You can find these flowers in vibrant colors such as red, yellow, coral, pink, or white.

Around 350 types of chrysanthemums are available in Japan.

Chrysanthemum has a special appeal in Japanese culture.

According to Hanakotoba, Kiku denotes nobility, longevity, trust, and purity.

And due to these significant meanings, it has been the flower symbol for the Japanese Emperor and the Imperial family for centuries.

Chrysanthemum Flowers

You will find it on the Imperial Seal, Japanese passports, the 50-yen coin, and kimonos as well.

However, white Kiku has a different meaning which signifies inner purity, sadness, and truth. White-colored chrysanthemums are often used at funerals.

3. Tsubaki – Red Camellia

Another striking and attractive flower in Japan is Tsubaki or Red Camellia. This flower is also known as the rose of winter.

Otometsubaki Camellia Japonica

It has been considered a noble flower since the Edo period. Historically, it represented a noble death among samurai and Japanese warriors. And this is the reason they denote respect, love, and admiration.

I want to add that it is not a good idea to present this flower to a sick person. The way this flower beheads itself when it dies, the Japanese people consider it bad luck.

Camellia sasanqua flowers

Different colors of camellia have different meanings according to the Japanese language of flowers.

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Sometimes, camellia also signifies humility, discretion, and the perfect love.

A white camellia implies waiting, while the yellow one conveys longing.

4. Rozu – Rose

You will see roses in almost every flower garden in Japan, and it is also a very popular gift when anyone wants to express his/her deepest feelings.

Just like in many cultures, Western or Asian, red roses or Akaibara signifies deep love, affection, and passion.

Red Roses In Japan

So, in case you are planning to propose your significant one or consider a romantic date with your bae, giving a bunch of red roses will undoubtedly be a good idea.

Rose appears in various colors.

So, let’s know what the other colors of roses mean in Hanakotoba.

As per the language of flowers in Japan, White Rose or Shirobara has the meaning of devotion, innocence, and silence.

winter yellow roses in Japan

And if you want to express confidence, happiness, or trust in someone, then the way to say it is with pink roses or Momirobara.

It also denotes your feeling for someone without any romantic attachment.

In Hanakotoba, the yellow rose or Kiiroibara is the way of expressing jealousy.

So, be careful with yellow roses.

5. Manjushage/ Higanbana – Spider Lily

Higanbana or red spider lily is a flower of gorgeous red color with steeply curled petals and long stamens.

Though it is so beautiful to look at, all the tales that it carries are just sadness or sorrows.

It is considered simply the flower of death. This flower also refers to ‘the other shore’; its bright color guides souls into the afterlife.

Higanbana - Red Spider Lily

It also means the final goodbye. Legend has it that they grow in that place where people part ways forever.

Besides, a large bouquet of red spider lilies is associated with fire.

These vibrant flowers are often used at funerals also.

Whatever the meaning is, Japanese people even sometimes use these flowers for decorative purposes without any concept.

Anyway, you might not know that spider lilies even have color variations, and each one signifies different meanings.

spider lily called Higanbana in Japanese

Blue spider lily denotes truth and calm energy. It also symbolizes stability, freedom, inspiration, positivity, and accuracy of work.

There is a popular anime series in Japan named Kimetsu no Yaiba, where blue spider lily is used as medicine to treat the villain’s body, and ultimately it ends up being positive for the villain.

So, the villain wants to find more of this flower to become immortal and to gain unbelievable power.

red spider lily

Speaking of the white one, it represents freshness, positive nature, and simple life, where the golden spider lily signifies wealth and richness.

There is also an orange-colored one, which is a symbol of pride, self-confidence, success, enjoyment, wealth, honor, and conviction.

This color is so attractive and vibrant that it makes us feel good emotions.

6. Botan – Peony

Nowadays, peony can be found almost everywhere in Japan.

This flower is also known as the king of flowers because of its exquisite and majestic appearance.

Peony Flower

Unlike some other flowers, it has no negative meaning. It bears the meanings of wealth and respect.

These Japanese flowers are also used as a symbol of good fortune, bravery, and honor.

So, it is a widely used flower for any wedding decoration to promote good luck for the bride and groom.

Magenta Peony Flower

You can say it is a win-win situation for any occasion.

Apart from this, if you ever see this flower in a tattoo, know that it is signifying a devil-may-care attitude.

7. Kosumosu – Cosmos

Cosmos flower is quite similar to the famous Japanese Sakura, and that’s why its name is written as autumn sakura in Chinese characters.

Cosmos flower

This flower was also introduced to this country in the Edo period. Now it blooms throughout the summer until the fall.

cosmos flowers

There are various meanings of cosmos in floral languages, such as maiden Japanese heart, cleanliness, and love.

8. Kaneshon – Carnation

The Japanese carnation flower is the symbol of love, especially for familial love, according to Hanakotoba.

Carnation flowers

If you want to show your parents or siblings or other close family members that you care and appreciate their existence in your life, you should give them carnations to express your feelings.

Carnation has a handful of color variations. They can be pink, white, green, or multi-colored blooms.

Multi Color Carnation flower

In Japan, red carnation is a common gift on Mother’s Day.

Carnations are also widely used flowers to express feelings in many cultures to show love, fascination, and distinction.

9. Himawari – Sunflower

If rose is the queen of flowers, sunflower should be the king, I think. You will find sunflowers in any country around the world, not only in Japan.

According to Hanakotoba, a sunflower, with its bright yellow color just like sunlight, denotes radiant as well as respect.

Sunflower (Himawari)

Himawari is a popular Japanese flower due to its large yellow flowers, which usually grow in large fields, creating an appearance like a vast yellow sea.

A festival is also held to celebrate this giant flower every year in Japan, which is known as Himawari Matsuri. Numerous people attend this festival to admire the beauty of these flowers.

This flower is also a symbol of loyalty, longevity, and adoration in flowery language.

They are also given to wish for good and prosperity.

Sunflower Field

However, if you are planning to consider sunflowers as a gift, then be careful with the number as the meaning changes with number variations.

Three sunflowers signify the declaration of love, whereas seven sunflowers mean secret love.

True love is symbolized with eleven sunflowers, while one hundred eight sunflowers imply ‘marry me’.

10. Churippu – Tulip

The word tulip derives from the Persian word turban, as the tulip blooms almost resemble a turban.

Tulip field in Japan

Just like the roses, the tulip is another popular flower all around the world, especially in Europe.

Over 3,000 varieties of tulips are found with many variations in color and shape.

In flower language, you can express your eternal love with Akiachurippu or red tulips.

Ice Tulips

You may also use red tulips to wish someone fame. On the other hand, the yellow tulip resembles one-sided love.

In some cultures, red tulips are associated with true love or undying passion.

11. Fuji – Wisteria

Japanese wisteria is a spring flower that grows naturally on a woody, trailing vine.

It can climb up to 20 meters, twisting around the stem of a supporting tree or artificial support. Wisteria may bloom in the first half of summer also, depending on the species.

The wisteria flowers

The meaning of this gorgeous flower is nobility or royalty, as in the past, commoners were not allowed to wear purple.

Nowadays, they are often used in landscaping.

As this flower is a combination of white and purple colors, most girls’ favorite color, wisteria is also used for fashion patterns, particularly in kanzashi and kimono.

wisteria flowers

Besides nobility, wisteria also symbolizes fragility, refinement, tenderness, and purity in Japan.

12. Ume – Plum Blossom or Apricot Tree Blossom

Like sakura or cherry blossoms, these flowers also create a magnificent view when in full bloom.

The blossoms of the Japanese apricot tree spread a sweet honey-like delightful aroma.

ume flower

The color ranges from a pink that is almost white to dark pinkish-red.

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Their fruits are edible, and the plant is bonsai suitable as well, which can make for stunning houseplants.

According to Hanakotoba, the pale pink or white blossoms of a Japanese apricot tree or ume convey purity of heart, faithfulness, and elegance.

Apricot Tree Blossom Flower

Chinese plum or ume originates in China. But the outer look of its fruits is similar to apricots, so it is also called the Japanese apricot.

Legend has it that Kenzuishi, a Japanese official diplomatic delegation sent to China during the Sui dynasty, brought back this tree to Japan from there.

13. Shobu – Japanese Iris

Shobu or Japanese iris is known to bring good news.

The elegant Japanese flowers will remind you of an orchid with frilled, papery purple petals and a yellow stripe in the center.

Japanese irises look exceptionally stunning with their longer lower petals and shorter upper petals, and sword-shaped leaves.

purple Japanese iris flower

The meaning of this flower is good news, glad tidings, and loyalty.

However, the meaning changes with its color variations as well.

A purple iris signifies news of wisdom and honor, while the blue one denotes hope and faith.

Iris is a samurai flower that also symbolizes courage and good news.

This flower has a special honor in Japan as many customs and rituals are associated with it.

Yellow japanese Iris flower

The Japanese people believe that a necklace made with iris leaves can prevent colds and cleanse all their sins.

Besides, officials used to wear wigs made from iris leaves in the Middle Ages, and children used bundles of irises as a whip, and they competed with one another to see who could hit the loudest.

Nowadays, iris flowers are used to decorate outfits, hairstyles, household items, and interiors.

14. Ajisai – Japanese hydrangea

Ajisai or hydrangea is a very famous flower in South East Asia.

With their wide range of colors and attractive blooms, these flowers can blow your mind away in an instant.

japanese hydrangea

The color diversity ranges from blue, green to light pink, making the flowers eye-catching.

Usually, hydrangea represents heartfelt emotion, including gratitude or apology—however, the meaning changes with the color variations.

Japanese Hydrangea

Pink flowers indicate sincere emotions, self-esteem, and pride, whereas the blue ones exemplify heartlessness and coldness.

Japanese even celebrate these flowers with festivals which normally take place during June and July.

15. Sumire – Violet

Why does such a beautiful flower have this weird name?

The shape of this flower is quite similar to a carpenter’s ink container. So, the Japanese name of this violet flower is sumire, where sumi means ink and ire means a container.

Sumire flower

This flower blooms from tiny shrubs, and they usually grow along walls or in gardens.

This flower is bright violet which is typically used to decorate front lawns.

In Hanakotoba, the meaning of violet is sincerity, a small love, and a small bliss, and you can express these feelings to someone with these exquisite purple violets.

Sumire Flower In Japan

You can also use this delicate flower as a thank-you gift.

So, here are the most popular flowers in Japan with their meanings.

I am wrapping up this writing here.

Conclusion

Though Hanakotoba is less known and rarely practiced outside of Japan, still now it is deeply rooted in Japanese culture.

Knowing the Japanese flowers and their meanings will help you a lot to express your feelings toward someone that you cannot say directly.

Besides this, you can also avoid many embarrassing situations by not giving the wrong flower with the wrong meaning to anyone.

So, apply the knowledge of Hanakotoba to color your life, but choose wisely as the meaning of flowers in Japan is different even for one flower.