The Rokkadudo Temple, located in central Kyoto, was founded by Prince Shotoku during the 7th century. The birthplace of ikebana and of its development, it is home to succeeding generations of buddhist priests of the family of IKENOBO.
Influenced by his missions to China where floral offerings were common practices in buddhist temples, Ono-No-Imoko, the missionary of Prince Shotoku, pioneered the practice of ikebana in Japan. Entrusted by Prince Shotoku to develop ikebana, he settled in the Rokkakudo Temple and was known as Senmu IKENOBO (literally "Bo" – the hut, next to the pond "ike" where Prince Shotoku bathed), the first of this prestigious family of priests and artists .
At the Rokkakudo Temple, buddhist floral offerings to honour Nyorin Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, have been practised since that time. The codification of ikebana, however, took place much later, in 1462, under Senkei IKENOBO, when rules and guidelines were formally detailed and established. «Hekizan Nichiriju», the diary of a monk at the Tofukuji Temple, is witness to the evolution that has taken place in the practice of ikebana, from the style of "tatehana" – a simple upright composition – to arrangements with well defined parts "yakueda" and functions as they exist today.
The year 2012 marked a significant milestone in the history of ikebana: the 550th anniversary of the Recorded History of IKENOBO IKEBANA.
Over the many centuries, Ikenobo has evolved and kept pace with the changing demands of an increasingly modern society. Under the leadership of Sen'ei IKENOBO, the current Headmaster and 45th generation Iemoto, the IKENOBO SOCIETY OF FLORAL ART has maintained its position as the largest and the most prestigious school of ikebana in Japan. The many chapters worldwide attest to the popularity of Ikenobo ikebana outside of Japan.
Ikebana, no longer restricted to the altars of buddhist temples, is now widely practised as a form of artistic expression, both in private homes and in public venues.