2016 Autumn Japan Bonsai Exploration– Part 4

Another maple I like mid thread

Valavanis Bonsai Blog

1Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition

The Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition is the largest bonsai exhibition in western Japan held in Kyoto, just down the street from the Heian Shrine. Professional bonsai artists select trees from their clients who want to display. It’s kind of easy to have a tree accepted for this exhibition, much more than the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition, which is highly judged. Entry fees are similar, $500 and $1,000 spots, depending on the size. So actually there is a wide quality range of bonsai in the Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition. This year there are some pretty awesome bonsai. Each year the quality seems to go up. I can’t figure out where all these beautiful bonsai come from. Very few are repeated and the top winners from the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition are also displayed here.


Set up and judging day are on Friday this year, which is quite interesting an…

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2016 Autumn Japan Bonsai Exploration– Part 2

I like the shohin maple half way down

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Today we only had two stops to visit bonsai gardens, but they were significant and quite a bit of time was necessary to view and study all the numerous details, which make each one unique.


Our first stop was at Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Edogwa, Tokyo. Upon first entering the garden you must go around a wall to see the main display area full of large size bonsai. Every time I visit I see something new and learn a lot. Also each time I come there are more and more bonsai, mostly large size for Chinese customers. He has even constructed a new display area on the roof of the building housing his containers and suiseki. If you can’t expand horizontally, you go up. I took a short video from the rooftop growing area and I’m pleased to report no bones were broken during my ascent and descend.

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JBP, ‘arakawa’ from Telperion Farms

Nebari Bonsai

Bought this from Chris Kirk at Telperion Farms in December 2014. They’re great growers out in Oregon. If you don’t see what you’re looking for on their website definitely give them a call or email. They have lots of stock! Here is the tree as received:

I let it grow all year in 2015 without pruning. Just wanted to get to know the tree, walk around it for a while, and determine what side would present the best front. So here it is in March, 2016:




Trees grown for bonsai have good bases, movement, taper, considered trunk sections, branches at the outsides of curves, and several options for a front.

See all the small shoots popping at the big branches? Those will be used to make the final branches over the next few years. Smaller branches offer flexibility, ramification close to the trunk, add a refined…

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