Toyama Gets Hopping With New Breed of Tulip

Toyama prefectural government
The Spring Rabbit (Haru-usagi), a new breed of tulip developed by Toyama Prefecture

TOYAMA — It’s the kind of flower that can put some spring in your step this spring. Or hop, as the case may be.

Toyama Prefecture has developed a new breed of tulip that it has named “Spring Rabbit” (Haru-usagi in Japanese) because of its pointed white petals that resemble rabbit ears.

The new tulips will be unveiled at the annual Tonami Tulip Fair in the western city of Tonami that opens on Saturday. The prefecture will accept orders for tulip bulbs at the festival.

The newly developed breed is a single-bloom tulip, and its strong stalk and leaves makes it ideal for planting in flower beds. It is said to be disease-resistant, too.

According to the prefecture, the majority of tulips distributed in the country are grown from low-priced bulbs imported from the Netherlands and other countries. Toyama remains the leading tulip producer among Japan’s prefectures, but the amount shipped is on the decline due to competition from the imports.

Cross-breeding to produce the new breed started in 1995, and the prefecture applied to register it with the central government in 2020.

“Single-bloom tulips that are white are actually pretty rare,” said a prefectural government official in charge of the agricultural department. “This is the Year of the Rabbit, so I hope many people will be interested in this endearing ‘Spring Rabbit.’”