Japan Culture Guide
Gardening was greatly popular 300 years ago in Japan
As the Edo period (1603-1868) is a peaceful time, there were various unique trends. Gardening is one of them. Various kinds of flowers took turns becoming popular, for example, morning glory, iris, peony… and at the beginning of 18th century when Rikugien, one of reputable landscape-style Japanese gardens in Tokyo, was constructed, azalea was in fashion. Various wild species were collected from all over Japan and used for breeding. Therefore, many old species of azalea are planted in Rikugien and end of April is the peak of the blossoms. In the Meiji era, azalea was exported to Europe and gained popularity there.
azalea blossoms in a Japanese garden in Tokyo