1000 bud chrysanthemums at Shinjuku Gyoen

These giant chrysanthemum displays are a marvel of human manipulation of nature. Called an “ozukuri bed” (大作り花壇), this technique for pinching, pruning and training chrysanthemums (菊) originated in Shinjuku Gyoen in 1884. In the first half of November, it’s a featured display each year.

On a conceptual level, I love the orderly rows that transform nature into a skilled craft. And I know that chrysanthemums are a national symbol of Japan. Yet, however monumental and transitory, I fail to find these flowers beautiful. What do you think?

There’s another style where the chrysanthemums are trained to look like a cascading river of petals. I like how they are in special bamboo huts with blue curtains and red tassels.

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