Fuji 藤 - Wisteria, a Stunning Wonder of Japan
This stunning 144-year-old wisteria vine (fuji 藤 in Japanese) is the biggest in Japan and covers almost 2.000 square meters in Ashikaga Flower Park - one of the most beautiful places to see. The vines are so long and heavy that they have to be held entirely on steel supports, creating beautiful canopy of colorful blossoms arranged in tunnels and walkways so that visitors can bask in its pink-purple light.
Purple color always had special meaning in Japan, about 1400 years ago, only high-level officials and the Imperial family could wear purple clothes...
As with momiji-gari, viewing of wisteria in blossom developed into its own special hanami (flower viewing ceremony), especially after wisteria had become a symbol of the ruling Fujiwara clan in Heian era (794–1192 AD).
It is not surprising that such magnificent vine tree occupies significant part in Japanese art, poetry and culture. One of the most famous Kabuki dance “Fuji Musume” (Wisteria Maiden) is centered around wisteria blossoms, as a symbol of love. The purple wisteria is also greatly favored by followers of Buddhism, because it was believed that Amida Buddha would descend on a purple cloud to guide them to the Western Paradise, also because the branches and blossoms seem to lower their head in gentle supplication, as a symbol of prayer.
Wisteria signifies love and is also used in many Japanese family crests (kamon)...
Furthermore, it's long-life bestows additional symbolic meaning of immortality and longevity to the wisteria. Therefore, a kimono decorated with wisteria blossoms (such as on one of the silk fabrics used in our Japanese Fusion collection) would be of the highest formality and traditionally would be worn only on special occasions in late spring.
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