A Walk, & Stumble, Through Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum

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It’s always a treat to wander through the Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo. There are more and more and larger and larger bonsai to appreciate and learn from. Today’s wander, and stumble down the stairs did not disappoint.

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Clearly, Japanese black pines are the king in the museum. They are everywhere, mostly in large sizes, for the Chinese market. Mr. Kobayashi has one said that if you want to make money, grow Japanese black pine bonsai.

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On display was his famous white Japanese flowering apricot bonsai which is a past Kokufu Award winner and was on the cover of a Chinese penjing magazine as well. It was truly stunning and is a superb example of what a bonsai is. Beauty, refinement, well trained and the evidence of loving care, which has aged in a container. You really cannot fake this appearance. Although many attempt to with evergreen bonsai.

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In the reception room a Winter flowering cherry was beginning to open, just the way I like to see blossoms. In fact, there are two large old Japanese flowering apricot trained garden trees which were also beginning to flower. One is at the entrance to the garden and the other near a waiting area near the traditional tea house. At this stage of floral development, one can appreciate the fine branching as well as delicate blossoms. In a few days both garden trees will be in full flower, and although beautiful, and fragrant, all one can see is a mass of flowers. It might be longer than next week for the trees to peak flowering because it’s been cold here. In fact, it began snowing while I was strolling through the garden and falling down the stairway…. I WAS holding to the railing on the right side of the steps.

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IMG_2667.jpgEnjoy the seasonal beauty of bonsai. It is always changing at Shunka-en Bonsai Museum.

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