Have you ever wanted to explore the bonsai and Japanese garden world of Japan in a small limited group? Well, here is your opportunity. In November Kora Dalager, travel agent and bonsai instructor from California and I will be leading another one of our popular bonsai tours to Japan. Bonsai gardens and studios of some of the finest bonsai artists in Japan will be privately visited.
Maple leaves in Kyoto.
Our tour will first begin in the Tokyo area where we will visit Mr. Kimura’s studio, the new Omiya Bonsai Art Museum and Omiya Bonsai Village. Many of the world’s best bonsai originated or were refined in this small bonsai village of six gardens. Bonsai of all species, sizes and styles can be seen and studied in beautiful garden settings in their autumn glory.
Masahiko Kimura’s studio.
Omiya Bonsai Art Museum.
Mansei-en Bonsai Garden- Hatsuji Kato.
Fuyo-en Bonsai Garden- Hiroshi Takeyama.
Next we will visit S-Cube, the garden of Seiji Morimae where you will see several thousands of bonsai and suiseki. A wide variety of bonsai, suiseki, containers, display tables and accessories are reasonably priced. Other than the living bonsai items can be easily purchased to add to your collection.
S-Cube- Seiji Morimae.
The next day a visit to Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo will be guided by graduate apprentice and bonsai artist fom England, Peter Warren. His command and understanding of Japanese aesthetics and language will surely we everyone and all questions will be answered. Here you can appreciate fine quality refined bonsai masterpieces distinctively displayed in indoor alcoves as well as in the garden.
Shunka-en Bonsai Museum- Kunio Kobayashi.
Display alcove with Gardenia bonsai.
Kunio Kobayashi teaching our group.
After the visit we will take the famous bullet train to Kyoto. Mt. Fuji can usually be seen from the fast moving train. Our visit to Kyoto is on the busiest weekend of the year because of “maple viewing” when thousands of old Japanese maples turn into brilliant autumn beauty. There are actually charts in each hotel indicating daily peak viewing of the largest gardens. A private full day bus tour to many of the most beautiful and famous gardens and temples will be led by our native guide, a retired schoolteacher has a wealth of knowledge, excellent command of the English language, humor and freely shares with everyone. Many small details often missed by visitors are quickly pointed out and explained.
Mt. Fuji taken from bullet train.
Maple viewing in Japanese gardens.
Tour member mediating in Ryoanji Temple garden.
We unexpectedly caught a camera shoot for a kimono shop.
We will then watch the opening ceremony of the Taikan Bonsai Exhibition, the largest exhibition in western Japan. Over 200 beautiful bonsai will be displayed. Unlike the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition, each bonsai is effectively displayed with appropriate companions and is usually accompanied with scrolls and suiseki. It is rare to see suiseki displayed with bonsai in Japanese bonsai exhibitions. The prize winning bonsai from the last Kokufu and Sakufu Bonsai Exhibitions are displayed along with special exhibits.
Taikan ten view.
Taikan ten bonsai view.
Bonsai and suiseki display.
Large size bonsai being positioned on display table.
Satsuki bonsai display.
Kora Dalager and Bill studying shohin bonsai composition.
A simple companion of moss.
Japanese five-needle pine bonsai rock planting.
Beautyberry shohin bonsai.
Award winning Sargent juniper bonsai.
A large sales area completes the exhibition and everything you always wanted to add to your collection will be on sale. Bonsai and items from the finest bonsai gardens will be available. Last year photographs were allowed, which is not normally the custom in Japan.
Trident maple bonsai, sold during the first hour.
Joe Noga looking at all the great bonsai which can’t be brought back…
Usually during the same time Seiji Morimae hosts a private suiseki show in a nearby 800 year old temple. The beautiful suiseki are displayed in several rooms.
Alcove display of suiseki.
During the following free days tour participants usually return to the exhibition or continue on to explore Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. Every time I return to the exhibition I see things I missed the previous times. Perhaps I’m a slow learner, but it takes me many visits to study all the displays.
We will then leave Kyoto and travel to Nagoya where will visit the bonsai garden of Toru Suzuki, the third generation artist of Daiju-en Bonsai Garden. Many of the techniques for training pine bonsai originated with his father and grandfather.
Daiju-en Bonsai Garden- Toru Suzuki.
A private visit to Shinpuku-ji Temple and museum will complete the day were we will see a small, but excellent bonsai collection in beautiful surroundings. The curator of this museum loves Princess persimmon bonsai and often has beautiful displays. We will be having lunch in their compound.
A forest of Cryptomeria and Bamboo on the way to the Shinpukuji temple.
A few stairs leaving the temple. Wonder how to do this if my foot is still broken?
Bonsai on display outdoors.
Japanese five-needle pine bonsai outdoors.
Indoor display of Princess persimmon bonsai.
Finally, a visit to Tokoname, one of the ancient kilns of Japan will conclude our tour. Here you can often see potters create their ware. Containers of all sizes, shapes, color and designs can be purchased for your bonsai. We will depart Japan the following day returning home in time to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with your family.
Lots of bonsai containers everywhere.
Master potter demonstrating slab making a container.
“Gyozan”, one of the top bonsai container artists.
The deadline is rapidly coming for registering for this exciting one-in-a-lifetime tour. The tour flyer can be easily downloaded from my website at:
The exchange rate has been improving and frequent flyer miles can often be used for transportation. Please contact Kora Dalager (firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 510-610-9064) for questions or additional information.
I look forward to sharing the beauty of the Japanese garden and bonsai world with you. Please don’t delay, you will not be disappointed with our distinctive, comprehensive, value packed and fun bonsai tours!