One of the most loved flowers in Japan is the Morning glory, Asagao in Japanese. Brought to Japan from China in the 9th century, the plant was originally used as a medicinal plant (the seeds were used as a laxative), but in Japan, because of its delicacy, asagao became an ornamental plant.
During summer, there are several morning glory fairs in Tokyo, the most important being the ones held at Iriya Kishimojin Temple (in Taito-ku), at Hibiya Park, at Denzuin Temple (in Bunkyo-ku) and at Yasukuni Shrine, all of them in July.
This photo is from the Asagao Ichi, Morning Glory Fair from the Iriya Kishimojin Temple. There are dozens of stalls, displaying a large variety of asagao. The sellers are usually enthusiastic, but the stalls are covered and the air is hot and humid, so everybody needs a pause from time to time.
Travel Tip: Like the name says, the Morning glory is in full bloom only during morning, so when you visit a fair like this, plan to go there early in the morning.
Asagao Ichi (Morning Glory Fair) Iriya Kishimojin Temple, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: Japanese Companies, Mitsui Fudosan