19th Utsunomiya Satsuki & Flower Fest
67th Tochigi Prefecture Satsuki Association Exhibition
Well, we had one more unexpected final surprise. We heard about another Satsuki exhibition which was held in Utsunomiya at a “Romantic Village” about half an hour away from our hotel. After asking Mr. Morimae about it he strongly suggested we go as the quality was a bit better than the Satsuki shown at the Kanuma City Kaboku Center Exhibition and Ueno Satsuki Festival. Boy, was he correct! There were no steps and the main exhibition was in an air conditioned greenhouse complex.
Mr. Morimae graciously had one of his staff drive a few of us to the exhibition. It was even over 30 minutes from the FuGa Exhibition. When we left, at closing time in the late afternoon we had a difficult time getting a taxi. So w
e walked a while and stopped in at a Japanese type of Home Depot to call for a taxi. We still needed to wait some time, in the heat and humidity before our ride came. It was another 30 minute taxi ride to our hotel in Utsunomiya, the same city as our hotel. But all the travel was well worth the beauty we saw.
The indoor Satsuki displays were superb as were the individual trees. Although there were a few smaller specimens, no shohin bonsai were shown. The natural lighting coming through the greenhouse ceiling made it difficult to photograph with cross shadows and dark areas. The quality of the display tables and companion plantings were far superior to the other Satsuki exhibitions.
Several Satsuki vendors set up shop in the entrance area as did some container sellers and a tool dealer. It’s interesting that at all the Satsuki exhibitions we saw had used bonsai containers for sale. Not antiques, but most had patina and were cleaned.
After passing the sales area there were four long rows of Satsuki on display outdoors. Although most were the tall bushy style, there were a few trained as bonsai. All were beautiful, however and gave us lots to study and had a better appreciation for Satsuki azalea bonsai.
This short, intense Satsuki Bonsai Exhibition Tour is now finished and all the Satsuki were in full blossom featuring a multitude of different colors, often on the same plant. Although it was unusually hot, I’ve experienced even hotter weather in Japan a few years ago when I brought Jonathan Singer to Japan to photograph trees for our book Fine Bonsai.
Our group of 14 tour members were great and we all got along well. Kora Dalager did a superb job organizing the hotels and transportation. Should there be interest we would consider repeating the Satsuki Bonsai Exhibition Tour again. I hope everyone enjoyed seeing my photos and personal commentary and thoughts. Remember, if you want to see finer professional quality photos with detailed information you can subscribe to International BONSAi at: