Bonsai is the traditional Japanese art of creating miniature natural landscapes using tree branches, which is increasingly gaining worldwide popularity. Learn in depth about bonsai and get a hands-on experience in Bonsai-cho which, as the name suggests, is a mecca for bonsai lovers. We'll meet at Toro Station in Saitama City, about a 30 min train ride from central Tokyo, and walk for about 15 min to get to Bonsai-cho area with cobbled streets lined with beautifully trimmed hedges and shrubs. Once we get to Tojuen, one of the 5 prominent bonsai nurseries in the town, I'll give you a brief introduction to the history of Bonsai-cho and bonsai in general. Then we'll be off to a quaint cafe (or a community space, depending on the day) where you'll try your hand at essential bonsai techniques such as pruning and wire shaping in a relaxed atmosphere. If you have any questions regarding bonsai, feel free to ask away! Finally we'll visit a bonsai garden, or if it rains, Omiya Bonsai Art Museum (admission fee:300 yen), where i'll give you tips on how best to enjoy bonsai viewing, as well as how to pick good bonsai specimens, while browsing masterpieces created by top bonsai artists.
I'm Jun, a bonsai and ikebana (flower arrangement) specialist based in Bonsai-cho, Saitama. Growing up I was always surrounded by trees and flowers as I was born into a family with a bonsai farm that dates back to my great-grandfather. Even after graduating from school, plants have always been part of my professional and personal life: obtaining an ikebana instructor license, doing my internship in the US flower industry, and working at a flower import company. Today, while helping my family's bonsai farm, I strive to preserve the traditional art of bonsai and promote my hometown to the world.
A drink will be provided at the cafe/community space
There is no better place in the world to engage in bonsai-related activities than in this Bonsai-cho, literary translated as "town of bonsai." Bonsai-cho was established around 100 years ago by a group of bonsai gardeners after the Great Kanto Earthquake. The area is surrounded by greenery and is home to 5 long-established bonsai gardens. Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, exhibiting some of the world's best bonsai pieces, is also in walking distance.
Shoes suitable for walking
*Large baggage such as backpacks is not allowed in the bonsai garden. Please store it in the coin-operated lockers at the station. *The trees used during the experience cannot be taken home.