Just one day after landing in Tokyo a few weeks ago, five of us caught a train to Obuse, Nagano prefecture, home of my favorite bonsai garden.
The garden is beautiful in winter. Snow came late this year, but enough fell before our visit that the grounds were blanketed in white when we arrived.
Stone path through the snow
Water source and basin
We walked through a courtyard and around a corner before entering the main building. We were greeted with a tasteful tokonoma display.
Shimpaku with scroll
Who was our host for the day? Here’s a clue.
Magnetic tool rack
Tyler Sherrod, five years into his apprenticeship with Shinji Suzuki, is the senior apprentice at Suzuki’s garden. He was our gracious host for the day.
Or should I say hosts – on the day of our visit, Tyler’s senpai, or senior, happened to be visiting from Oregon.
Matt Reel, a graduate of Suzuki’s garden, overlapped with Tyler at the start of Tyler’s apprenticeship five years ago. He had come over for several weeks of work at Suzuki’s garden with another Portland resident, current apprentice to Michael Hagedorn, Bobby Curttright.
With three American guides, we made ourselves at home and drank tea and enjoyed catching up with friends abroad. And then someone mentioned the trees. The cups were quickly cleaned up and we headed into the garden.
A peak at the bonsai
Tune in for a closer look next week.
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Ray Norris says
Love the garden, very neat and organized. Glad to see 3 amigos together.
Motoko Ishiwata says
wow!! Welcome to Japan!!! I live at Yokohama where is far a way to Nagano prefecture,but I like Obuse,I go to near Obuse sometimes. because l like skiing. Have a nice Bonsai day at Obuse.
Sage Smith says
Very very cool. Susuki’s always looks super clean and well put together. A wonderful place I’m sure. I’m guessing the trees are kept in the cold frame to keep them from getting too cold in the winter. I’ve often wondered how bonsai professionals in Japan approached winter storage for their trees.