It’s almost March… the air is slowly getting warmer, and it will soon be time for plum blossoms, which herald spring here in Japan. Today we’re heading down to the Kansai area to Shiga, a prefecture known for the famous Plum Blossom Bonsai, called Bonbai in Japanese. There are two postcards in the Postacollect collection depicting bonsai, the other being Kagawa Prefecture’s Pine Bonsai.
Bonsai are miniaturized trees which are carefully cultivated to stay small. These trees still flower however, and Shiga is the place to go to appreciate these cute but beautiful trees. Every year in Nagahama, the Keiunkan (a guesthouse built to host the Emperor Meiji on his way to Kyoto) features a show of about 90 plum bonsai of various shapes, forms, and sizes. It is one of the largest and longest exhibitions of its kind in Japan, and the quality of the exhibits, and the way each bonsai is showed to it’s full potential, is carefully thought out, giving the exhibition it’s famous reputation.
The Nagahama Bonbaiten can be visited from January through March 10th. It is close to JR Nagahama Station. Be sure to stop by the Tourist Information Center by the station for information and brochures! If you’d like to see the full-sized trees, at the Hokoen Park in Nagahama you can see a plum grove. Or if you’re not close to Shiga during plum blossom season, visit any bairin (plum grove), and you could very well find your own bonsai to see or even buy. I found some visiting my local grove called Akimabairin: