Gift: Bunch of flowers ~Which Flower is Appropriate for Which Occassion?~ | Guidable Japan
Gift: Bunch of flowers ~Which Flower is Appropriate for Which Occassion?~

Gift: Bunch of flowers ~Which Flower is Appropriate for Which Occassion?~

By Guidable Writers Jul 17, 2016

Floral emblem and what they mean

Do you know floral emblem of your own country? As for Japan, it is Sakura and Chrysanthemum.  As for
Chrysanthemum, there are important facts I want to introduce to you. Chrysanthemum has been recognized as the symbol of the noblest existence (emperors) because it is said that a General used it for his own symbol, and it has been given to emperors afterwards.

On the other hand, Chrysanthemum has also been closely related to temples, and has been offered to funerals and cemeteries.    

Furthermore, Chrysanthemum has been treated as an art by growing and decorating beautifully to be competed. 

In short, Chrysanthemum is a symbol of nobility, death, or art depending on occasions. That is why people (especially non-native citizens) get confused in giving Chrysanthemum. 


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Flowers’ TPO

The occasions of giving flowers are mainly grouped into three; for celebrations, inquiries, or tributes. In Japan, some flowers have each special meaning as Chrysanthemum mentioned above, so people care about which flower is suitable or unsuitable for each occasion.  I would introduce “the dos & don’ts” in giving flowers.   

#1: Celebrations (O-Iwai): No Chrysanthemum.
Gorgeousness or vigor is needed, so roses, lilies or Phalaenopsis are preferred.


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#2: Inquiries (O-Mimai): No Chrysanthemum, nor potted plants.

Sick people will be shocked to see Chrysanthemum given to them because they will firstly think of death. Potted flowers remind us to root in the place; you might hear that you will continue to stay in that situation (in bed/in a hospital.)  Those smells strong such as lilies are unsuitable especially for visiting hospitals. In addition, reddish color is also unsuitable which reminds us of blood;  but light pink is acceptable though.  On the other hand, sunflowers (yellow or orange) are preferable to be given which means to encourage people or to be vigorous.  Gerberas can replace sunflowers.  Please note that some wards in hospitals don’t accept any flowers because they can be harmful to some patient’s condition.


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#3: Tributes (O-Sonae): No roses, poisonous flowers.

It has been said that thorns and poisons are ominous for the deceased. Some people also don’t like those smells strong such as lilies although they are not against our custom.


You need not take flowers for funerals because undertakers or flower shops will prepare all flower arrangements. If your close acquaintance has passed away, you might want to visit his/her home soon after his/her passing who is in Futon at home.  In that case, you may take some flowers; the color needs to be white only which is called Makura-Bana (flowers for a pillow.)


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#1: Some people love lilies, but others hate the strong smell although the flowers are suitable for some occasions. You had better take those ones only if it is clear the recipients love them.

#2: You might need to know the recipient has vases to put flowers; some people don’t have custom to decorate the room with the flowers arranged in the vase.  If you are not sure, you had better take flowers arranged in a basket like ones of picture 7, 8, or 9, still more for inquiries at hospitals.

#3: As you may know, flowers in market vary from season to season.  For example, Tulips or sweet peas are for springs, and sunflowers are for summers. All the flowers except for sunflowers in the following list are in the market the whole year.

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Feel free to ask florists

I suppose that the florists in Japan tend to be more proud of their specialized skill than those in other countries; they are artists.  So, you can trust them in choosing and arranging flowers for each occasion.  In that case, please tell them the following points.

#1: Occasion

#2: Budget   (minimum will be 3,000 JPY)

#3: Flower preference (the recipient’s preference is the best)

#4: Color preference (the recipient’s preference is the best)

#5: Length/height: 

As for an inquiry at hospital, shorter or smaller is better otherwise the patient will be in a private room.


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I would recommend you to drop in at flower shops such as Aoyama Flower Market every season to imagine each occasion for giving flowers.  Please refer to their homepage by the following URL.

Now, you will be O.K. in choosing flowers.  I wish you will tell your feelings properly with bunch of flowers to share joy, sorrow, or hope with your precious.