Hibiya Park, c. 1910
“[W]e came across an exhibition of azaleas which was being held in a large bamboo enclosure. The pots of azaleas were arranged in three tiers under an awning. In the centre of the enclosure a raised dais had been erected for the Empress, who had visited the show on the previous day and from this eminence she had obtained a bird’s-eye view of the flowers without having to walk about.
“Each plant had been carefully cut back and tended for many years, some being as much as fifty years old, and had been forced to grow in such a way that the stem resembled the handle of a bouquet surmounted by blooms of pink, red or white azaleas. The top of the bouquet varied in diameter from twelve inches to two feet, and was a perfect mass of bloom unrelieved by any green leaves.
“Suspended on a peg at every corner of the building was the following notice in English:
‘Not to sell’;
‘Do not touch on the flowers’;
“… and an official was there to see you did not.”
– A Jaunt in Japan, Or, Ninety Days’ Leave in the Far East, Capt. S.C.F. Jackson, D.S.O., 1899