Happening in Japan

Iriya Morning Glory Festival: Summer Flowers in Tokyo

Society Culture

For three days in July, visitors gather at a north Tokyo temple to enjoy a wide variety of morning glories.

The morning glory is a common motif on yukata robes and hand towels sold at stalls in the bustling district of Asakusa, Tokyo. The flower and the area have a long-standing connection that goes back to when Asakusa was the heart of Edo—the former name for the Japanese capital.

The cultivation of morning glories once flourished in nearby Okachimachi and a festival was held inside the grounds of the Kishimojin temple in Iriya. This festival is still held at the temple, near Iriya Station on the Hibiya Line, from July 6 to July 8 each year. Visitors can drop in before or after work as the gates are open from five in the morning to eleven at night.

The flowers are not only loved by Tokyoites. Many Japanese people have fond memories of growing and observing morning glories at elementary school or using pigments extracted from their petals to paint with in art class. Just as cherry blossoms are linked with spring, morning glories are a part of summer in Japan.

Iriya Morning Glory Festival

Dates: July 7 to July 9 each year
Hours: 5:00 am to 11:00 pm
Venue: Kishimonjin temple (also known as Shingenji) and surrounding area, Iriya, Tokyo
Official website (Japanese): http://www.asagao-maturi.com/

(Originally written in Japanese by Takahashi Ikutomo of Nippon.com and published on July 6, 2016. Photographs by Nippon.com. Banner photo: Morning glories at the Iriya Morning Glory Festival.)

tourism Tokyo Edo flowers morning glories Iriya