Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Post 142 Visit to Kokufu

I went to Tokyo a couple of weeks ago to go to Kokufu-ten, the 88th in the series. Over about 8 days that I was there I also visited Omiya, Tokoname and Kyoto.

The bonsai competition was held in the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art. For the first time this year there were two phases for the show with 170 trees shown over 4 days, followed by a changeover day and then another 170 trees.
There was a wide range of species shown; lots of pine and juniper but just as many deciduous species and even some bouganvillia. The trees are mostly big with just a few smaller than 600mm, apart from a small shohin display. They were of course all absolutely stunning. It was great to be able to get close and look within the tree and go beyond the usual two dimensional observations we make from pictures.
It’s winter in Japan so of course the deciduous trees were bare showing amazing branch structure.

 The organisers eventually publish a hard cover folio of pictures of the trees and so photography in the show was not allowed, so no pictures I’m afraid; apart from this overview taken by a privileged visitor.
But they do run a sales area and the same rule did not apply there. Most of the trees offered for sale were also of a very high standard and I have a few pictures to show you.

This and the next one are general views in the inside area


 The junipers were in great condition and must have been in a warm environment for the winter. Any juniper that had been grown outside was by this time quite a russety brown in colour.

 There were a few pots for sale and if you look closely you'll see the prices on these ones. The top blue one was going for Yen 300,000. In the show there were a lot of old pots with no concern given to the odd chip or blemish. The generally showed plenty of patina.

 I was quite surprised at the prices of the trees. I had expected that they may have been asking quite a bit more. This juniper was tagged at Yen 200,000. That's got to be a bargain. For $500 to $600 you could buy any  number of really high quality, old, well developed trident shohins for example. If only importation was a reasonable option.
 This is the area outside, just more of the same. This was taken at the end of the first 4 days show. On the next day a winter storm swept through for the changeover day (that must have been fun) and this area would have been covered in a 200mm of snow.

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