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Shunka-en Japanese Bonsai Gallery

10/26/20

This Japanese flowering apricot (Prunus mume) is from Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum. I borrowed the photo from Bill Valavanis' Bonsai blog.

When it comes to photographs of the best Japanese bonsai Bill Valavanis' Bonsai Blog is hard to beat. We found all today's photos there. And all the trees are from Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum.

A muscular old Camellia full of flowers and buds. This photo and a couple others below were taken by Bill Valavanis during a 2018 visit to Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo.

More color. This one looks like a Persimmon and the pot looks like it has a story to tell. Like the Camellia this photo was taken by Bill Valavanis during a 2018 visit to Mr Kobayahi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum.

Some people complain about highly stylized bonsai and in many cases I get the objection. But please don’t complain about this one. To my eye, It belongs in the pantheon of highest quality bonsai art. A masterpiece of movement, harmony and creativity. When I first featured this tree a couple years ago I wrote the word Embrace. Now I don’t remember if it was my idea or if the name came with the tree. No matter, I think it works.

Quoting Bill... "There are over 12 alcoves for formal bonsai displays. Mr. Kobayashi always shows his creativity in creating distinctive bonsai displays."

A closer look at just the tree.

One of many powerful Shimpaku at Mr Kobayashi's Shunka-en Bonsai Museum. Here's a quote from Bill, "There were many large grafted Sargent juniper bonsai, all wired and just waiting to fill out for future sales." Bill consistently refers to Shimpaku as Sargent junipers. He is of course correct, even though most of us in the bonsai world refer to them as Shimpaku (there is a lot more that could be said about this, but we'll leave that for another time).

This would be a remarkable bonsai even without the flowers. In addition to Japanese black pines and Shimpaku junipers, Mr. Kobayashi is known for his Satsuki azaleas.

Here’s a great little Satsuki root-over-rock.

Another Satsuki in full bloom and another of Mr Koybashi’s tokonama.


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