The second stop on our garden tour was to Kunio Kobayashi’s bonsai garden, Shunka-en. Located just outside Tokyo (and a fair drive from Kimura’s garden) it was begun by his father some seventy years ago. The garden was the largest I’d seen that day and very impressive. We were greeted by trees before we ever set foot in the garden–they were even on the roof!
Once inside the gate, we were ushered past familiar, famous old junipers and pines to the indoor Tokonoma display area by our guide, whose name I forgot, but has been an apprentice there for two years now and speaks excellent English.
The first display featured an Ume, or Japanese flowering plum, one of the first trees to flower in early spring:
The next display featured a Japanese black pine with a cascading branch and the elements of display suggesting water as the black pine grows…
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