Japanese Flower Arrangements with Ikebana

Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement with an ancient and sacred history. It’s considered one of the three classical refinements alongside tea and incense. There are many different styles of ikebana, and the goal behind them is to create beautiful arrangements and prolong the life of the flowers.  A popular form known as Moribana uses shallow vessels and clusters of flowers to create landscape-like arrangements.  Kenzan, or frogs, are an important tool that you secure flowers to so they can stand upright.  If you are interested in learning about the art of ikebana, here are some pieces that have helped me.

Ikebana: The Art of Arranging Flowers

I have read quite a few books on ikebana and this book by Shozo Sato is the one I always recommend.  It includes sections on the history, styles, tools and techniques, and lessons of ikebana and I appreciate the many illustrations and beautiful photographs.  If you want to learn the art of Japanese flower arrangements, this book is the right place to start. 

Hanafubuki Ikebana Kenzan Japanese Flower Holder

My favorite metal frog is Hanafubuki’s brass kenzan.  It’s solid and heavy so I can trust that my flowers won’t move around accidentally.  I love that it’s a truly traditional kenzan with its lead base and brass spikes, and it has a removable rubber gasket that can help protect your vessel and prevent sliding.  Even though it measures just over 3 by 3 inches, it weighs almost a full pound and packs in 331 solid brass needles.  If you’re serious about ikebana, this kenzan from Hanafubuki is the ideal metal frog for perfecting your arrangements.

Hanafubuki Clear Ikebana Kenzan Japanese Flower Holder

I love using Hanafubuki’s clear kenzan, especially when I’m using clear glass vases.  Instead of lead and metal, it’s made of a clear plastic which helps it blend in with any vessel without detracting from your ikebana arrangement.  Because it’s plastic, it won’t scratch your vases, and it is much lighter than lead and metal options.  My favorite feature of this frog is that it’s only about 2 ounces, so to avoid slipping and tipping they’ve included a strong suction cup at the bottom to make up for the lost weight.

SVY Japanese Kenzan Ikebana Flower Arranger

SVY offers a frog that’s easier on your wallet.  At 2.4 inches, this smaller kenzan can get you started with smaller flower arrangements.  It has 169 needles made of copper and steel, which isn’t as traditional or high-quality as the brass option but still provides a great stand for your flowers.  It comes with a removable rubber gasket to prevent scratches and slipping.  What I really like about this kenzan is that it also comes with a needle calibrator and a cleaning brush to help you maintain your kenzan between arrangements. 


Ikebana is a beautiful art with a long history.  If you are interested in the history or practice of Japanese flower arrangements, check out Ikebana: The Art of Arranging Flowers.  There are many useful tools to help you with your arrangements and these items I’ve mentioned are the ones I’ve used to create beautiful Moribana-style ikebana for my home.