A feature of Japanese culture.

Like other arts, Ikebana expresses creativity by using specific floral arrangement rules. The harmonious combination of branches, leaves, grass, and fresh flowers recreates the beauty of nature. In literature, Ikebana means “living flower”; the art of expressing emotions when enjoying nature; the art of recreating the space of the landscape with a tree branch and a blade of grass revealing the emotional nuances through the colorful ranks of flowers. Ikebana is also considered art like painting or sculpture with a long recorded history. In Japan, Ikebana arrangements are used as decorations like paintings or other works of art. Only natural materials are used, never artificial flowers.


Ikebana, also known as Kado, originated from the ceremony of offering flowers to Buddha, and developed into a special art form from the 15th century, with many styles and schools.

  • In the mid-15th century, with the emergence of early classical styles, Ikebana became a religious art, although it continued to retain its symbolic and philosophical significance.

  • By the 16th and 17th centuries, although the Ikenobo school was still popular, many rikka schools (an elaborate flower arrangement seeking to reflect the majesty of nature) were born and flourished under the patronage of nobilities.

  • At the end of the 16th century, a new form of flower arrangement called Nageire began to be used in tea ceremony with a very elegant rustic tendency. 

  • At the end of the 17th century, the emergence of Seika (生花) school, the flower arrangement of nobility and monks, changed dramatically. Seika was becoming the most popular style in the late 18th century.

  • After the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and the emergence of Western culture, traditional Japanese art, including Ikebana, was neglected. However, it was revived strongly in the late 19th century and continues to thrive today, with many new flower arrangement styles appearing.

Today, there are about 3,000 ikebana schools in Japan, with about 15 to 20 million people enrolled, worldwide, most of them women. The most popular schools are Ikenobo, Ohara, and Sogetsu, each with a somewhat different style, attracting about 3 million students. There are still Shoka flower arrangements, as well as many other more modern styles.

Styles of Ikebana



Rikka style flower arrangement was born first and is still popular. Rikka means vertical flower arrangement, the requirement of this flower arrangement is that the vase used for flower arrangements must be tall and the flowers in the vase are in an upright position. Rikka shows the beauty of nature. A vase of Rikka always has 7 branches representing hills, waterfalls, valleys, and other things in nature.



A free-style floral arrangement developed from artistic advances in the early 20th century. Jiyuka is not bound by any traditional rules. The artists can use any material to freely create according to their personality. As a new style of flower arrangement, Jiyuka is suitable for the industrial and urban era; therefore, it was warmly welcomed by the Japanese in the 1920s.



This emphasizes vitality, the growing energy source. Seika-style vases are usually arranged on the corner of Tokonoma by the Japanese, the most traditional place in the room.

These are just a few of the many schools and styles of Ikebana. With the natural love of the Japanese, Ikebana culture has become one of the typical cultural features of Japan. Ikebana art schools flourish all over the world, bringing people the beauty of nature and the joy of expressing this beauty in an art form.

Ikebana in Portland

In our area, there are several schools and teachers. All of the schools gather under the umbrella organization, Ikebana International, for meetings and exhibitions.

If you are interested in attending an event or becoming a student, you may go to this website which provides links to the various local schools.