First Flower Arranging Ritual｜初生け
The Ikenobo school of ikebana flower arranging is based in Kyoto and was born from traditional arts practiced at Rokkaku-dō temple for over 1,400 years. In early January it’s common for events to be held as “the first” of something in the New Year, and Ikenobo is no different, holding their Hatsu Ike (“First Arranging”) ritual on January 5th each year.
As part of this ritual, countless students of the Ikenobo school gather to give their hopes and prayers for the New Year in flower form. Most extravagantly, several dozen young people dressed in gorgeous furisode kimono and handsome haori-hakama formal wear offer up prayers at Rokkaku-dō temple and then file into the school dōjō and begin to arrange the flowers they are given. Usually the process is overseen by the head of the school, but in 2018 jikiiemoto Ikenobo Senkō, the next head of the Ikenobo, filled the role, making an appearance to give advice and supervise the young students. Once they have finished their first flower arrangements of the year, the jikiiemoto herself creates an arrangement before giving the representatives assembled a formal New Year’s greetings.
The arrangement ritual that takes place in the dōjō is not open to the public. However, visitors can view the New Year’s arrangements for free on this day only from around noon until the Ikenobo offices close at 5 pm.
Approximately 1,500 students from all over the country gather on this day to do arrangements, and in 2018 the age of the students ranged from 9 to 95 years old! Because ikebana places a good deal of importance on the use of seasonal flowers, you will see classic plants such as pine, plum, bamboo, camellia, and daffodils, as well as more recently popular choices like roses and tulips.
This half-day exhibition is a rare chance to enjoy a wide variety of ikebana, so don’t miss out if you’re in town for the New Year season!
Things to See/Do
Ikebana displayed from 12:00 to 17:00*
* Please note that the First Flower Arranging Ritual is not open to the public. The finished ikebana works are open for viewing post-ritual.
- Hatsu Ike Admission (January 5th): Free
- Hatsu Ike Ikebana Exhibition: 12:00 – 17:00
- Rokkaku-dō Temple: 06:00 – 17:00