日本原産の花:躑躅「つつじ」Flowers native to Japan: Azalea “Tsutsuji”


This year, I went to the “Tsutsuji Festival” at Nezu Shrine, which is held every year after taking a walk.


In the Kanto region of Japan, azaleas are in full bloom after the cherry blossoms are scattered. Azaleas can be seen everywhere, just like cherry blossoms, such as on the side of the road, in the garden of a private house, or in a park, without having to go to see them.

ツツジの栽培 Cultivation of azaleas

日本での歴史 History in Japan

時代 periodツツジ Tsutsuji
Asuka Period~
Appeared in a Waka that read azaleas in “Manyoshu”
Beautiful maiden → metaphorically expressed as an azalea
Edo Period
Cultivation and breeding were actively carried out
Meiji Period~
Because it is easy to cultivate
Many azaleas were planted all over Japan
Taisho Period~
Azalea flowers can be picked and sucked nectar from below,
It seems that honey was often sucked during the food crisis war.
→ Some varieties are poisonous, so we don’t do it now


Azaleas were cultivated at the end of the Edo period from wild species that grow naturally in Japan, just like cherry blossoms. And many varieties were improved and made from the Meiji era to the Taisho era.


In the Edo period, the horticultural culture that loves azaleas became so popular that the word “Tsutsujimi (azalea appreciation)” could be used. In particular, azaleas are said to have become more popular during the Edo period than other flowers.(There are various theories)


The azaleas that are often seen in parks and roadsides today are considered to be the varieties that were developed at that time and are easy to cultivate and easy to bloom.


Asuka period, azaleas have a long history that was familiar to aristocrats and royal families, as they appeared in “Manyoshu”.



In fact, the seal of the current Emperor’s eldest daughter, Aiko, Princess Toshi, is a white azalea called “Goyo-tsutsuji”.


The azalea that bloomed in the Nasu Imperial Villa in Tochigi Prefecture was decided as a seal with the wishes of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, “We want you (Princess Aiko) to grow up to be a person with a pure heart like a pure white flower.” The seal is a seal that the imperial family attaches to personal belongings instead of their name.


At Nezu Shrine, there was a nameplate as a flower of Princess Aiko’s seal.

根津神社のツツジ Azalea of Nezu Shrine


Currently, the Nezu Shrine in Tokyo holds the Azalea Festival every year from April to the beginning of May.

Nezu Shrine ... One of the ten Tokyo shrines.

The building that was built in the Edo period still exists and is designated as a national important cultural property.
Many of these buildings are lacquered cultural properties. It is a valuable cultural property that can be seen at a short distance.
If you are interested, please take a closer look


The place where the azalea garden in the precincts of the current Nezu Shrine is located was the land of Tsunashige’s Shimo-yashiki (a villa), the third son of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun of the Edo Shogunate.


It is said that Tsunashige planted azaleas here.


Since then, it has a history of increasing the variety of azaleas for more than 350 years. Currently, about 100 species and 3000 azaleas are planted. The opening period of Tsutsujien is about one month, and it seems that you can see all the varieties if you go to see it a couple of times during the session.


It costs 300 yen to enter Tsutsujien. However, it is said that this entrance fee will be used for lacquer painting repairs and maintenance of cultural properties, so it also serves as a donation.


When you enter the garden, you can see beautiful azaleas up close. And since it is a little high slope, you can see the main shrine of Nezu Shrine, Karamon, Torii, etc. together with the azaleas from a high position. It is recommended because you can only see it during the period when Tsutsujien is held.


The azaleas at Nezu Shrine are carefully maintained and are different from the azaleas on the roadside trees. As it blooms as a bouquet of round petals, its size and shape are spectacular.


The day I went was a weekday, but many people came to see the azaleas. Weekdays are recommended as it may be particularly crowded on weekends.


Although it is outdoors, new facilities such as alcohol for disinfection and toilets have been installed.

「躑躅」の名前の由来 Origin of the name “Azalea”



“Tsutsuji(Azalea)” is a plant native to Japan, so this name is Japanese.

Since the kanji “躑躅” is a difficult character, Tsutsuji(azaleas) are often written in hiragana or katakana.


As mentioned above, some plants of the family Ericaceae are poisonous.


If you look at the meaning of the Chinese characters for “躑躅” …

漢字 Kanji意味 meaning
remain standing/to reach an impasse or deadlock/to walk on the spot
to stamp (one’s feet)/flounder


It is said that it is derived from the fact that the sheep ate and hesitated and fell down.


It is said that this name was given to make people aware that this plant is poisonous.


Among the azaleas, the poisonous ones are “Japanese Renge-azalea” and “Japanese andromeda (Asebi)”. The Japanese azalea may have beautiful flowers and may be planted even in the city. For that reason, sucking honey is now strongly regarded as dangerous


Both “Japanese Renge-azalea” and “Japanese andromeda (Asebi)” are plants that grow naturally in the wild mountains, which are not so high.


Since it is a variety that has survived in the fierce competition for survival on the earth, I think that poison was a means of living for plants to protect themselves. Last year, there was an exhibition of “plants” at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo, and I found it interesting because it focused on the way plants live. Unlike humans and animals, plants live to the end without moving once they take root in the area.


They bloom beautiful flowers to help them survive, pollinate them with insects, and poison them to protect themselves from danger.


The plants live powerfully and earnestly in that place. While changing yourself, sometimes killing enemies. Plants live by doing their utmost in the place and environment where they are placed, regardless of their will.


If the environment doesn’t suit me, I can move and change flexibly. However, the plants cannot move.


The world of plants for plants, the world of insects for insects, and the world of dogs for dogs. .. .. .. Knowing that there are various worlds on the earth has broadened my horizons. The way of life of living things is not limited to human beings, but it is different for each living thing


I think there are many things that I don’t know about in the world. Knowing that way of life sometimes gives me courage. And when the field of view expands, my worries seem to be small. Every day I realize that studying is important.

参考文献 References


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