Ikebana is the art of Japanese style flower arrangement. It is a Japanese Cultural Art just as the other more internationally well-known Japanese Tea Ceremony and Origrami Arts. While Western-styled flower arrangments typically focuses on the symmetry, colour and fullness of the display, Ikebana is a bit more complex as it encompasses a certain philosophy towards nature and humanity, as well as appreciation for the various floral forms found in nature.

In fact many Ikebana styles focus and place emphasis on just a few elegant lines and thoughtful spaces, rather than a profuse display of floral blooms. Branch and leaf material play just as important a role in Ikebana as the flowers themselves. As well, a perfect arrangement does not necessarily mean getting rid of all the ripped or dried material. If these elements can provide an interesting focal point, and/or convey a certain season or feeling, they may very well be added to the arrangment on purpose.

Over the years, Ikebana has developed many different schools of thought and styles. Arrangments can take on a great variety of forms and sizes depending on the school and the type of plant and containers used. In the past, the more formal styles were limited mostly to the upper class due to both the cost of material and time required for formal training. By the 1930s, interest in Ikebana grew amoung the various social classes, and the art form began spreading across the world as well.

In Japan there are now many different active schools, and thousands of places and teachers to study with. Amongst the three internationally most well-known schools are: Ikenobo, Ohara and Sogetsu. Ikenobo is known as the oldest school, founded by the Buddhist priest Ikenobo Senkai back in the 15th century. Ohara is known as the first of the modern schools and broke away from the Ikenobo style in the late 19th century. The encompassed the use of western flowers, and devoloped a new style of flat container for use with arrangments. Sogestu was founded in 1927 brought an avant-garde style that introduced all sorts of new materials such as steel and plastics.

Participating members of the Toronto Chapter of Ikebana International belong mostly to the following main schools: