A visit to Omiya Bonsai Village a short distance outside Tokyo on the train was next on the agenda; they were switching out the trees at the Kokufu Exhibit with an entirely new set, so this was an opportunity to visit some famous gardens. We were lucky enough to get on a tour that started off with a nice lunch at the restaurant of Mr. Yoshi Nakamisu, which recently opened and is right across the street from the Bonsai Museum. Again I was impressed with the manhole covers in the little village of Omiya: Omiya Village   There are six bonsai packed in there, a rather fitting design I thought. We had some time before lunch to stroll around the village and chanced upon Saburo Kato’s famous garden, Mansei-en. I was taken by the size of a shimpaku juniper just inside the entrance: Mansei-en   More shimpaku: Shimpaku   A large black pine: Black pine   A nice Japanese maple: Japanese maple   A nice Cork-bark black pine: Cork-bark black pine   The famous Ezo Spruce garden: Ezo spruce   These are very large plantings as you can see next to the garden wall the crowns of some of the trees are the same height as the wall. And a last shot of a  white pine, I believe: White pine   We were very lucky to have such a sunny day for the tour! We trotted off to Mr. Yoshi’s restaurant for lunch and the next stop was the garden of Mr. Masahiko Kimura. You’re never prepared for reality when all you’ve seen are photos; Mr. Kimura’s garden was much smaller than I had imagined and the space between the benches made it challenging for me to get good photos of the trees, so I did the best I could…let’s get started! The Resurrection   The ‘Resurrection’ juniper with a shiny aluminum background…that couldn’t be helped 😦 Another well-known juniper I should have taken on my own before asking someone else to shoot me with it…ah well! At Mr. Kimura's garden   You’ll see a bit of snow here and there, this was just one day before a storm rolled in that dumped the most snow Tokyo had seen in one storm in 47 years! More trees from the garden: Shimpaku   The pot is propped up on the left side to facilitate better drainage. More: Black pine   A black pine with nice bark. Next a white pine: White pine   Black pine   Black pine and a detail shot looking up: Black pine, detail   Nice and licheny! More: Black pine   Maple?   Nice to see some deciduous trees on the benches! Beech   Shimpaku   The juniper foliage was pretty bronze in color, indicating cold, winter weather. They start to green up when they are actively growing later in spring. The color change is a good indicator for re-potting, if they need it. White pine   Shimpaku   Black pine   Black pine ‘work in progress’ shot. A Japanese yew: Yew   Shimpaku   Procumbens?   A needle juniper with Barry from Australia on the left:Barry/J.rigida White pine   This shot of a white pine came out well, I think. I was able to get a little distance from my subject for this one. Black pine   Semi-cascade black pine destined for a good pot one day. Spruce   A spruce. White pine   A white pine, ‘Kyuzu’ variety grown by Mr. Kimura from a seedling. Most impressive! Shimpaku   Another tree ‘in progress’ this time receiving some grafts. It looked to me like the foliage might be in the process of being changed from male to female, which is tighter and more attractive. Red pine?   Japanese maple   Japanese maple. And a very well-known shimpaku: Shimpaku Shimpaku   Another stunning shimpaku. Mr. Yoshi our guide in the background with Mr. Sugi and another guest from Australia. Mr. Kimura was not there the day we visited…it will have to be another trip. Kimura's pond   At the mid-point of our visit, we were escorted to see Mr. Kimura’s pond and his albino fish. Mr. Yoshi was in the lead and you can see beyond his left shoulder was more bonsai in the work area we were not allowed in. I was a little surprised to see so many orange trees laden with fruit–see them stacked atop the stump on the left? Kimura's albino fish   These fish are related to carp but are not koi; they were large, three to five feet in length. We were told this is the largest population of this variety anywhere. Kimura's garden   A shot of the surrounding trees, meticulously groomed by apprentices no doubt. Our next stop was to see Mr. Kimura’s father’s patent prototypes and a wall of all the trees Mr. Kimura has won prizes for. Kimura's studio   Then it was back to see what was in the greenhouse… White pine   A white pine group planting on the outside of the greenhouse. His greenhouse was also smaller than I had imagined. It made me feel a little better about the one I have at home 😉 Wisteria?   I just had to have a shot of myself taken next to one tree engulfing another somewhere in his yard; I think the ‘engulfer’ is a wisteria. Along greenhouse   More trees alongside the greenhouse… Hinoki forest   A well-known Hinoki forest Shimpaku planting   Mr. Kimura’s rock plantings are among my favorites of his creative work. They are quite large–most are around four to five feet tall. I’m sure it takes at least two people to move them! Shimpaku on rock   Unusual rock planting. Detail: Detail   Shimpaku   Here the rock itself looks like it becomes the trunk. Shimpaku   I liked the pot even though it’s new it has interesting feet. The tree isn’t too bad, either. Shimpaku   This planting looks fairly recent. Spruce   Spruce White pine   A white pine with a ‘welcoming’ branch. The Japanese will often train a low pine branch to cross over the top of the garden gate to welcome visitors. Cascade pine   Shimpaku   A ‘bunjingi’ style rock planting Shimpaku   Sorry for the over-exposed shot…my camera was getting tired, I think. Quite a feat of balance represented by this planting!


Shimpaku shohin

Here was a shohin size shimpaku sitting amid towering masterpieces…I felt just like this little guy!


Another angle:


And a parting shot of what Mr. Yoshi said is Mr. Kimura’s new growing field; I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of it in the future!

Mr. Kimura's growing  field

I can honestly say it has taken longer to post this than it did to tour Mr. Kimura’s garden! Next time around a trip to Shunka-en! See you then!