Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo is the home, studio, gallery and growing area of Kunio Kobayashi. I’ve visited here many times before, and like in the past there is always something new to see and study, plus Mr. Kobayashi’s personal bonsai collection.
The scenic garden views, especially from the top two viewing areas were quite beautiful. I found it interesting that all of the maple and other deciduous bonsai were in one area, satsuki azaleas in another and the remaining evergreens in the central area of the garden museum. A new bamboo fence for an attractive background was new as was a poly house.
All of the bonsai, especially on the monkey pole display tables were tied down to avoid tipping over during windy weather and earthquakes. Of course, the bonsai are kept outdoors, all year around here.
When Mr. Kobayashi has guests, he brings a few bonsai indoors and arranges displays in one of the dozen or more alcoves in the museum. Each display features a major bonsai, companion and usually a hanging scroll. Jin Yasufumi, a graduate apprentice is now working for Mr. Kobayashi in the curator position for his museum. He is friendly and speaks excellent English. After our tour members looked around and came down from bonsai overload, Jin gave us a guided tour of the museum, including the upstairs container room full of antique and historic Chinese and Japanese containers, each valued more than average homes in the United States
There were particularly a large number of large Japanese black pine bonsai, probably for the Chinese market. Nearly all of the maple bonsai were leafless and their beautiful branch ramification was visible.
The fruiting bonsai were colorful and the Chojubai Japanese flowering quince and Sasanqua camellia were blossoming. There was a large unusual Magnolia bonsai with plump flower buds for spring flowering. I could not photograph a large Satsuki azalea because it was just watered and was on the ground level. Mr. Kobayashi recently won an award with this Satsuki azalea which will be displayed in the upcoming Sakufu Bonsai Exhibition limited for professionals.
As previously mentioned, Mr. Kobayashi continues to add bonsai and containers to his museum garden for sale. Well, it now looks like he finally ran out of space because he is overflowing out his front gate on to the two side walls enclosing his garden. A few bonsai, lots of containers and even companion plants sit right on the street. Flags from different countries flank the walls welcoming the many visitors from foreign countries.
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