We visited the opening of the 2014 Satsuki Festival sponsored by the Japan Satsuki Association in Ueno Park. The location of the exhibition is near the entry way to the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Gallery where the now annual Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition is held. Our group arrived early to avoid crowds and take photos.
Several large open-air structures housed more than two hundred Satsuki bonsai. On the last row vendors set up selling Satsuki pre-bonsai as well as small and large trained masterpieces. Some tools and supplies were also offered. The display area was on a smooth white granite floor, which reflected the intense heat up to the visitors. It’s a good thing there was a Starbuck coffee shop adjacent to the exhibition, where many took a few moments to become refreshed before returning to study the bonsai.
In the sales area I noticed two different Satsuki cultivars…
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We had a long and enjoyable today, well, every day is full of beautiful bonsai, highlighting Satsuki azaleas. We took a subway and four taxis from our hotel to the Shunka-En Bonsai Museum of Kunio Kobayashi. He is well known for his award winning Japanese black pines and Satsuki azaleas. In fact, this is the first time we have visited him when he was not at his museum. He was judging a Satsuki exhibition in Yokohama and his senior apprentice Hiroyuki Suzuki was setting up another Satsuki exhibition at the Ueno Green Club– that’s one we will miss. Mrs. Kobayashi did a great job, as always welcoming us and serving us green tea.
Since Peter Warren is teaching in Florida and Hiroyuki is at the Ueno Green Club we had Jin Yasufumi, who speak English, translate for us and give us a grand tour of the tokonoma displays all featuring…
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Our first stop today was at the private garden of Masahiko Kimura where we saw magnificent, mostly large size bonsai. Nearly every tree was an evergreen, many with dead wood, but not all. Three were numerous famous masterpieces as well as Important Bonsai Masterpieces and award winning trees from the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition.
Mr. Kimura was a gracious host and all of group were served tea and Japanese cookies. Of interest to most of our members was not a large size tree, nor evergreen, but rather a small tropical tree. A few knew the name was “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” but could not think of the botanical name. So, I took out my iPhone and searched and discovered the name is Brunfelsia pauciflora, a small plant native to Brazil. I’ve seen it in Florida and it’s beautiful with purple, white and pink flowers on the…
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In order to share the beauty of Satsuki azaleas with friends and introduce a bit of rarely seen areas of Japan, Kora Dalager and I introduced a new tour to Japan this week– The Satsuki Festival Tour. Our group includes 14 people from across the United States as well as Australia who want to see colorful Satsuki azalea bonsai as well as some of the finest bonsai Japan has to offer.
We arrived on Sunday evening to visit the private bonsai garden of Shinji Suzuki who lives north of Nagano on Monday. After a two hour bullet train ride we took a local train for 30 minutes. Upon arrival in Obuse, the town where the Suzuki garden is, we walked around and had a wood fired lunch in an old sake factory. Obuse is a quaint town where many wanted to simply walk around to absorb the sights and culture…
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