My Visit To Tokyo: Shunkaen Bonsai Museum

Bonsai museum

Bon who? What’s Bonsai?

One of the highlights of my visit to Tokyo was getting to see the Shunkaen Bonsai Museum.  First of all however, here is what we learnt about Bonsai in these excerpts from Bonsai Empire:

The word “Bon-sai” (often misspelled as bonzai or banzai) is a Japanese term which, literally translated, means “planted in a container”. This art form is derived from an ancient Chinese horticultural practice, part of which was then redeveloped under the influence of Japanese Zen Buddhism.

It has been around for well over a thousand years. The ultimate goal of growing a Bonsai is to create a miniaturized but realistic representation of nature in the form of a tree. Bonsai are not genetically dwarfed plants, in fact, any tree species can be used to grow one.

In short, the definition of Bonsai can be explained as:

Bon-sai Japanese character

“Bon” [left character] is a dish or thin bowl (“a modified vessel which has been divided or cut down from a deeper form”).

“Sai” [right character] is a tree or other growing plant which is planted – “planted,” as would be a halberd or spear or pike stuck into the ground.

“Bonsai” thus means or denotes “a tree which is planted in a shallow container”.”


Bonsaei museum

At the Museum

It was an amazing experience to see trees hundreds of years old and to have this art ably demonstrated by a Bonsai Master who had won many awards globally.

Bonsai Museum

Bonsai museum mastser

I also got to try out the wiring effect on a small tree – which lost a few leaves in the process and may never recover – but definitely showed this bonsai thingy was not as easy as it looked when the Master did it.

Bonsai Museum

Bonsai museum

The shapes of the tree trunks became more and more intricate as they defied gravity yet flourished under the Master’s care.

Bonsai museum

Bonsai Museum

Bonsai museum

Bonsai museum



Next up, what I did after I wired my tree 🙂



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Barbadian mother and lover of laughter; story teller and best-selling author; happy to follow God's lead and to live my mantra: "you've gotta be a rainbow in the lives of others when it rains."

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