Asagao or “morning glory” the beloved flower of summer!

Asagao or morning glory is one of the most popular garden plants in Japan and blooms between July and September. It was bred during the Edo period (1603 to 1868) in Japan and developed in its own unique way.

2021-05-12   Traditions & History, Osaka,

morning glory

The asagao in front of a house.

The beloved flower of summer, the Morning Glory

What kind of flowers bloom in your country during the summer? Japan is now in the middle of its summer and the beautiful morning glory, Asagao in Japanese, blooms early in the morning. If you visit during this time, you’ll see these round colorful flowers just about everywhere and can be found at places like schools and the on the verandas of old houses. It’s called “Asagao” in Japan and is said to be brought over by diplomats from China during the Nara period (710 to 794). The flower was originally used as medicine by noblemen, but due to its popularity during the Edo period, people began breeding them in high quantities.

A potted Asagao, Andon style

Beauty in the morning

The potted morning glory is familiar among people in Japan.
The main way to plant Asagao is called “Andon-style” and its purpose is to get more sunshine by controlling the number of vines. By doing so, photosynthesis of the flower is fostered, providing nutrients resulting in a large flower. Asagao means ‘beauty in the morning’. Its a metaphor for a beautiful girl’s face, which might become less attractive in the afternoon. I think it captures the characteristics of Asagao well.

A large Asagao

Recommended place for Asagao viewing in Osaka

In the Japanese gardens of Osaka (Sakai), traditional methods of planting Asagao have been passed down from the Edo period. In the time leading up to early August, you can see the large Andon-style Asagao. Bred Asagao can be seen from August 25th to early September. Check out rare Asagao at Daisen Koen Park’s, Japanese garden.


Daisen Nakamachi, Sakai Ward, Sakai, Osaka Prefecture

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Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.


Address Daisen Nakamachi, Sakai Ward, Sakai, Osaka Prefecture
Hours 9:00 to 17:00(Last entry is 16:30)
Access 8 min walk from the bus stop Daisen machi station. Bus departs from Koya line Sakai Higashi station. 10 min from Asahigaoka station
Phone 072-247-3670