Shunka-en Bonsai Museum


Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo is the home of Kunio Kobayashi who is one of the top bonsai artists in Japan and the world. His garden is a mecca for many, including me because of the high quality bonsai and especially his distinctive formal bonsai displays.


Winter flowering cherry, Prunus campanulata


Japanese five-needle pine, Pinus parviflora


Chinese quince, Pseudocydonia sinensis


Apprentice Jin explaining the magnificent display of a Japanese black pine


Japanese flowering apricot, Prunus mume


Japanese black pine, Pinus thunbergii

His museum has 15 display alcoves, all different styles. Apprentice Jin toured our group around and explained many of the small details most people miss and answered our questions as well in good English.
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Although Mr. Kobayashi is most famous for Japanese black pines and Satsuki azaleas he has recently begun a love affair with maples. He has always had many Trident maples, but a few years ago he put several long tables in an area reserved for a garden featuring a beautiful stone. All of his Japanese and Trident maples are in one area so they can be easily cared for.
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Large lumps of charcoal was evident on many species as was old rusty iron wire to improve the health of the trees. A comprehensive article written by a Cornell University professor who has been studying “biochar” can be seen in a recent issue of International BONSAI. I’ve been using and selling charcoal and have had excellent results. Contact me if you are interested in obtaining horticultural charcoal.
As always our group was warmly received at Shunka-en Bonsai Museum and is a highlight to all our tours.

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