Thursday, September 12, 2013

SHUNKA-EN - Bonsai museum and nursery in Tokyo

Dear All,

During our trip to Japan I had planned to visit "Shunka-en" in Tokyo.

Shunka-en is a Bonsai garden and museum done by Bonsai master Kunio Kobayashi.

He is a famous bonsai artist and has won no less than three times "the Prime Ministers Award" which is the most most prestigious price that can be won in Japan with in the bonsai world.

 Took a train from Tokyo station to Koiwa station which is 5-6 stops as I remember it. It was such a warm day (35 degrees) and the sun was burning so I decided to take a taxi ride to the garden from the station. The taxi driver did not know any english which is not surprising in japan - but when I showed him the map I had printed out and said: "bonsai - bonsai" he knew where to go! It is aprox 7 min ride in the taxi. Can be done by walking but that day it was simple too warm!

I was really exited to go visit the place as I knew I would find great master pieces - famous award winning bonsais I have seen in many magazines and on the internet but never had the chance to see in real life...before now.

I entered the garden and WOW... could almost not concentrate on where to look as there was amazing trees all over the place. - But there was no people to find? I knew I had to pay a small entrance fee to get in (800yen), so I wanted to have that done first before I started to look around.
I looked around and I found Mr. Kobayashi together with his team eating lunch in the shaddow in front of the house. One of the guys stood up, welcommed me and introduced him self as Jonas.
Jonas asked me where I was from and I told him: "Denmark". He replyed: "I am from Sweden" - so the rest of the conversation was in Danish and Swedish.
Jonas have been staying some time at the house of master Kunio Kobayashi and had another 2 month to go. Before that he have studied cemistry in Kyoto for 2 years.
Jonas asked if I would look a bit around my self - as he had to prepare some things and then he could give me a tour of the garden.

I looked a bit around my self while I saw some of the guys were preparing some indoor displays in the beautiful tokonomas - dont know if it was for me but I got that impression as I was the only visiter in the garden at that time.

Jonas gave me a guided tour of the garden and told me about the different trees and showed me pictures of the same trees in a book at the same time.

Famous Black pine - around 350 years old.
 The first tree he showed me was the famous black pine that Mr. Kobayashi won the first price in kokufu ten in 2001. AMAZING tree and a lot bigger than I expected - maybe around 1.3 meter tall. They had just finished de-candeling all the pine trees in the garden before I arrived and new little buds had started to show. - around 150 trees.. understand they work alot! I asked for the price tag on the tree and it is around 1 million dollars!
I think the price is so high do to the fact that it has won a famous competition combined with Mr.Kobayashi dont really want to see this tree leave his garden. 

The next tree he showed me was this impressive Juniper. It is the oldes tree in Mr. Kobayashis garden and is approx 800 years old! It has been in a better condition but is still very very beautiful! 

 Inside the house several tokonoma are set up and a large collection of books and antique Chinese pots and tables are displayed.

 Mr. Kobayashi  signed copy of his book for me when i was there and I was offered tea.
The museum is closed on Mondays and charges an entrance fee of 800 Yen.
Below I have added alot of pictures from the garden. 

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