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Bonsai Art Museum


Photo - Bonsai Art Museum

In April 2010, Ross Garden Tours was the first overseas tour group to visit the elegant new Bonsai Art Museum in the unique Omiya Bonsai district of Japan. Tour leader Carolyn Dwyer reports.


Omiya district, a few hours’ drive from Tokyo, is regarded as a ‘sacred place’ to bonsai enthusiasts from across the world. It was established as a unique bonsai nursery district by the Japanese government to preserve and maintain the ancient culture of bonsai.

Bonsai plant nurseries have a tradition that reaches back through centuries of old family ownership. The title of Bonsai Master is highly revered by all Japanese including the Emperor. Living plant masterpieces are handed down through generations and lovingly cared for because they are irreplaceable. Each plant is guided and coaxed into its unique shape by the care and dexterity of its owner.


Photo - Bonsai Art Museum

The opening of this museum has been a dream of the Omiya Bonsai Cooperative Association for many years. It wanted to showcase its masterpieces in an elegant, formal setting that allowed the art of bonsai to be seen as its very best. We felt honoured to be there, only weeks after the opening. The museum features an outdoor display of bonsai in a dry rock garden and an indoor exhibition gallery where seasonal masterpieces are displayed in their own individual alcoves. There is a second indoor gallery showing the history of bonsai. It features beautiful woodblock prints called ‘ukiyo-e’ from the 19th century depicting scenes of geisha admiring bonsai pots and plants. There are also a number of decorative ‘suiseki’ stones and ceramic pots from the Meiji period.


Text: Carolyn Dwyer

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Author: Carolyn Dwyer