Plant Patterns

Autumn Leaves

Autumn maple leaves, called Momiji in Japan, have been loved by ancient people admiring their beautiful red and yellow colors. Some believe that they revitalize the body after a long hot summer.

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Bamboo has long been used in Shinto rituals. Because it is straight and grows upright, it represents a robust and resolute spirit, making it a popular pattern.

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The camellia, also called "Tokiwagi" (meaning "evergreen tree") because of its year-round green leaves, has long been part of Japanese lore. Camellia patterns are auspicious and believed to ward off evil spirits and protect the wearer from bad luck. Mentioned in literary classics such as The Tale of Genji, this iconic pattern is used on kimonos and obis.

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Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms (sakura) are iconic throughout Japanese art, including kimono patterns. Like spring flowers, they signify the beginning of something promising.

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Chrysanthemum designs, seen on Japanese sweets and decorations for Buddhist altars, symbolize longevity and ward off evil spirits. Traditionally, Chrysanthemum Festivals were held on the ninth day of the ninth month to pray for a long and healthy life.

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Hydrangeas have many different flower charms, but the shrub’s long blooming period means “patient love” because it ensures a long rainy season and produces beautiful flower clusters. Hydrangeas also mean “family reunion” because the small petals huddle together and appear to bloom as a single flower, representing family unity and closeness.

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Yamato Nadeshiko is a Japanese term that expresses the concept of an ideal woman as defined by ancient traditions; poised, proper, kind, gentle, graceful, humble, patient, virtuous, respectful, benevolent, honest, charitable, and faithful.

It is a floral metaphor, combining Yamato, an ancient name for Japan, and Nadeshiko, a delicate frilled pink carnation, blooms from August to September. The flower is often seen in patterns used on yukata (summer kimonos).

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Nanten is a plant used for New Year’s decorations and herbal medicine. Nanten is associated with the Japanese word for turning a difficult situation around, so its pattern is considered lucky and quite popular for kimonos.

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Plum Blossoms

The plum blossom blooms right as the cold winter months melt away into the warm spring. It has long been regarded as a flower of good luck, used throughout the year as a symbol of encouragement.

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Wisteria is also a popular pattern when it comes to kimonos. Wisteria has been used as a pattern on kimonos to symbolize vitality and long life because of its strong fertility and the spread of its vine tangling with other trees.

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