This year marks the 20th anniversary that Kora Dalager and I have been leading value priced bonsai tours to Japan and Asia. Kora is a seasoned travel agent who has traveled the world and that is also a skilled and knowledgeable bonsai artist and teacher. She is especially interested in bonsai display and presents programs and workshops on companion plantings. I hasten to point out that both Kora and have individually led many bonsai tours for years before combining our talents to offer more interesting and economical explorations of the Japanese bonsai world and Asia.
During our first day in Japan, our eleven tour participants from Australia, Switzerland and the United States first visited Seiji Morimae’s S-Cube Bonsai Garden in Hanyu, Japan. He offers the widest selection of bonsai, containers, suiseki and accessories for display in Japan. A busy schedule keeps him hopping, but he, his family and staff always make time to welcome our tours to their special bonsai world.
This Sargent juniper and the next one featured were both grafted by Seiji Morimae 18 years ago. This is the first time the public has seen these masterpieces. They will be on sale at the Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition.
As we were enjoying his hospitality and bonsai his staff was busy loading three large trucks packed full of bonsai, suiseki and containers for display and sale at the 39th Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition starting on Saturday in Kyoto. He will have the largest sales area/bonsai gallery in the exhibition as well as organizing several large private displays.
Masahiko Kimura Bonsai Garden
Our next stop was to meet Masahiko Kimura and visit his bonsai garden. Large, beautiful, heavy and powerful bonsai dominated his collection. However there were quite a number of newly made tall rock plantings created for Chinese and European exports.
Omiya Bonsai Art Museum
After a delicious lunch at the Bonsai Restaurant across the street from the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum we visited their collections as well as the special Autumn Exhibit featuring Yuji Yoshimura and his pioneering bonsai education outside Japan.
Omiya Bonsai Village
Our tour members were then guided through the world-famous Omiya Bonsai Village by Kora Dalager while I remained at the museum to present my program on Yuji Yoshimura.
Mansei-en Bonsai Garden
This is the oldest bonsai garden in the Omiya Bonsai Village which is managed by Takahiro Kato,grandson of bonsai master Saburo Kato.
Seiko-en Bonsai Garden
Also well established, this garden is presently run by the fourth and fifth generation bonsai artists Tomio Yamada and his daughter Kaori.
Kyuka-en Bonsai Garden
Established by Kyuzo Murata, this garden is now operated by his son Isamu Murata and his grandson Yukio, second and third generation bonsai artists. This garden was not visited because Yukio Murata was translating my program at the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum on Yuji Yoshimura.
Fuyo-en Bonsai Garden
The final stop for this busy day was at the garden of Hiroshi Takeyama, second generation bonsai artist. He specializes in deciduous, unusual and forest planting bonsai.