Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in the Edogawa Ward of Tokyo is owned by award winning bonsai artist Kunio Kobayashi who is well known around the world. Visits to his museum are always one of my highlights to Japan. There is always something new to see. I was here a few weeks ago, and new bonsai have suddenly appeared, many large size Japanese black pine for the Chinese market.
One of Mr. Kobayashi’s talent is to share the beauty of his art through formal bonsai display. He designed his museum to feature about 12 different display alcoves of different sizes and degrees of formality. They are always spectacular and ready to photograph.
When our group arrived in the morning there was an army of people running around picking weeds out of the small gravel, washing containers outside on the growing tables, watering the stone paths for welcoming visitor and removing old pine needles. I’ve never seen so many people working so hard in this garden. It almost looked like my Monday Senior Crew helping me prepare for important visitors or for a show. Even Mr. Kobayashi was working picking up. Something must be going on.
Apprentice Raphael from Poland, who spoke perfect English toured us around the museum explaining little known facts. I learned a lot from him.
At 10 am the Mayor of Edogawa Ward came to visit, along with a few assistants. Mr. Kobayashi toured him around and then his youngest daughter, a tea ceremony master presented a tea ceremony for his important visitors. Mrs. Kobayashi pulled up a stool for me, but I politely excused myself to study more of Mr. Kobayashi’s artistry.
The rest of the morning was spent looking through his garden and seeing new trees and training techniques.