Flower Meanings in Japanese - Hanakotoba

Have you ever heard about the language of flowers? Do you know how to say the name of flowers in Japanese? What meanings do flowers have in Japan? In this article, we will see all about Hanakotoba [花言葉] and the meaning of flowers in Japanese.

Flowers like sakura and chrysanthemum are national symbols of Japanese culture, and exerts great power in the beauty of the country and in the lives of Japanese people. In Japan, flowers are a traditional gift for both men and women.

They are often used to convey what cannot be spoken. The language of flowers is known as Hanakotoba [花言葉] and is disappearing. Nowadays, many Japanese are unaware that flowers have traditional meanings.

However, flower meanings make occasional appearances in modern popular culture such as anime and manga. In this article you will learn both the meaning of flowers and their pronunciation and writing in the Japanese language.

Hanakotoba - meaning of flowers in Japanese

The image above shows a Japanese flower arrangement called Ikebana.

Flowers in Japanese - Meaning of Flowers

Below we will leave a complete list of flowers in Japanese, followed by their writing in kana, their romanization and finally their meaning. If you're on your cell phone, just slide your finger over the table to move it and see it completely.

Responsive Table: Scroll the table sideways with your finger >>
Flower nameJapaneseRomajiMeaning
perfect-loveパンジーPanjīthoughtful, caring
Anemone (White)アネモネAnemoneSincere
Aster tataricus紫苑ShionRemembrance
azalea躑躅Tsutsujipatient, modest
Cactusサボテンsabotelust, sex
Camellia (Yellow)椿TsubakiWish
Camellia (White)椿TsubakiWaiting
Camellia (red)椿TsubakiIn love, Perishing with grace
CloveカーネーションKānēshonFascination, distinction and love
Chrysanthemum (yellow)黄菊KigikuImperial
Chrysanthemum (white)白菊ShiragikuTruth
Dahlia天竺牡丹TenjikubotanGood taste
EdelweissエーデルワイスĒderuwaisucourage, power
sweet peaスイートピーSuītopīGoodbye
Cherry BlossomSakuraKind, Gentle, Transience of Life
Freesiaフリージアfurjiachildish, immature
Fritillaria camschatcensis黒百合Kuroyurilove, curse
Gardenia梔子KuchinashiSecret love
Sunflower向日葵HimawariRespect, passionate love, radiance
morning glory朝顔Asagaovoluntary pledges
Habenaria radiata鷺草SagisōMy thoughts will follow you in your dreams
HibiscusハイビースカスHaibīsukasu□ Kind
Irisアイリス, 菖蒲AyameGood News, Good News, Loyalty
JasmineジャスミンJasuminfriendly, graceful
lily (orange)小百合Sayurihate, revenge
White lily)白百合ShirayuriPurity, Chastity
red spider lily彼岸花 /曼珠沙華Higanbana / ManjushageNever to meet again, Lost memory, Abandonment
Lily of the Valley / Spider Lily鈴蘭/百合Suzuran/YuriSweet
Lotus蓮華RengeAway from the one he loves, Purity, Chastity
Do not forget me勿忘草WasurenagusaTrue love
Narcissus水仙SuisenSelf esteem
Poppy (Yellow)芥子(黄)Keshi(Ki)Success
Poppy (white)芥子(白)Keshi(Shiro)cheer
Poppy (red)雛芥子Hinageshifun-loving
Pink (Yellow)黄色薔薇KiiroibaraJealousy
Pink (White)薔薇BaraInnocence, Silence, Devotion
rose (pink)桃色バラMomoirobaraConfidence, Happiness, Confidence
Red rose)紅薔薇Benibarapassionate love
Tiger Lily鬼百合OniyuriWealth
four-leaf-clover(四つ葉の) クローバー(Yotsuba no) kurōbāFortunately
Tulip (yellow)チューリップChūrippuOne-sided love
Tulip (red)チューリップChūrippuFame, Charity, Trust
Mistletoe / Holly宿り木/ホーリーYadorigi/HōriiSeeking (Single and "-")

Meaning of Flowers - Japan vs West

How about we briefly compare the meaning of Japanese flowers with the meaning of flowers in the West? Are there any differences? See our old list of hanakotoba before updating this article.

Red rose (Akaibara, 赤い薔薇) - It means romance just like the western meaning.

White Rose (Shiroibara, 白い薔薇) - In Japan it means Innocence, Devotion and Silence. In the West it means Virtue and Chastity.

Yellow Rose (Kiiroibara, 黄色い薔薇) - In Japan it means Jealousy and Envy. In the West it means Friendship and Devotion.

Pink Rose (Pinku no bara, ピンクの薔薇) - In Japan it means Trust and Happiness. In the West it means Grace, Elegance and Delicacy.

Carnation (Kaneshon, カーネーション) - In Japan carnations literally mean love, red carnations are a great gift for Mother's Day. In the west it depends on the color, red means romantic love, yellow means rejection.

Hanakotoba - meaning of flowers in Japanese

Amaryllis (Amaririsu, アマリリス) - Japanese meaning is "shy" western meaning is "proud".

Red Tulip (Akaichurippu, 赤いチューリップ) – In Japan it means "Fame" in the West it means eternal love.

Yellow Tulip (Kiiroichurippu, 黄色チューリップ) – In Japan it means a one-sided (unrequited) love, in the West it means the same thing, but it also means an impossible love.

Primrose (Sakuraso, 桜草) - In Japan it means despair, in the West it means eternal love, pure friendship and kindness.

Hanakotoba - meaning of flowers in Japanese
A flower called Primrose

Sweet Pea Flower (Suitopi, スイートピー) – In Japanese it means Goodbye, a farewell.

Blue Bell or Bluebell (Buruberu, ブルーベル) – Both in Japan and in the West it means "Gratitude".

Cactus Flower (saboten no hana, さぼてんの花) – In Japan it means lust, in the West it means a mother's love.

Narcissus (Suisen, 水仙) - In Japan it means "Respect" in the West it means chivalry or unrequited love.

Camellia (Tsubaki 椿) - In Japan the red Camellia means "Love" for the samurai it means "bad luck". The yellow camellia means longing. The White Camellia means "Wait" and in the West both colors mean Excellence.

White Chrysanthemum (Shiragiku, 白菊) - In Japan it means truth or sadness, it is the most common flower used at funerals. In the West it means death and mourning.

A flower called Camellia

Sakura - Meaning of the Cherry Tree [桜] [櫻]

Sakura (桜) literally means cherry tree and is one of the main symbols of Japanese culture. THE cherry blossom, has such an intense meaning and symbology that it would need a long article talking about it. But I will summarize:

the cherry blossom means the female beauty and symbolizes the love, a happiness, a renovation and the hope. It also symbolizes clouds as they bloom en masse. A The flowers' compromise, their extreme beauty and quick death, was often associated with mortality.

Hanakotoba - meaning of flowers in Japanese
Sakura blossoms in an event called Hanami

The sakura is a good luck charm and is also an emblem of love, affection and represents spring. Sakura Blossom is divided into more than 300 varieties of cherry trees, and they refer to many other different meanings.

The cherry tree fruit, the cherry, is considered the greatest symbol of sensuality, eroticism and sexuality, mainly due to its intense red color. The sakura is so popular that every year during spring it is enjoyed in a festival called Hanami.

Of course, there are countless meanings of Sakura and other flowers that haven't been mentioned, otherwise the article would turn into a book. Thanks to everyone who read the article and the comments and shares. Which flower do you like the most?

Read more articles from our website

Thanks for reading! But we would be happy if you take a look at other articles below:

Read our most popular articles:

Do you know this anime?