Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: JDNeessen on March 25, 2013, 01:36 AM

Title: Trip to Japan
Post by: JDNeessen on March 25, 2013, 01:36 AM
I'd like to plan a trip for my 40th birthday (still a little while off) to Japan.  I'd like to start thinking about (and saving for) the trip, but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on where to go? Omiya, Osaka, Tokyo?  I know some of the bigger shows happen in the earlier part of the year, but with my work that would probably be challenging.  We'll probably go in May or June.  

Thanks for any input.  

Title: Re: Trip to Japan
Post by: Don Blackmond on March 25, 2013, 06:50 AM
contact Bill Valavanis at (
he can help you
Title: Re: Trip to Japan
Post by: John Kirby on March 25, 2013, 07:54 AM
I would also plan on Nagoya, see Peter Teas website. If you want to get your hands in to some work, aichien, Kokanee and Kobayashi's (shunkaen?) all have programs for foreigners. Plus others, I am sure. The landscape has really changed over the past decade. Dave Ktreutz from St Louis has also led groups over in May/June on Satsuki and bonsai tours. John (And speak with Bill V. He has been doing ths for years, I went over with him to the double show in 2006).
Title: Re: Trip to Japan
Post by: Owen Reich on March 25, 2013, 04:48 PM
Bill is definitely a good resource as he knows everyone.  I am happy to help with some suggestions; especially if you go to the Kansai Region (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, etc).  Kouka-en has programs available too and you can contact Bjorn Bjorholm about the matter. (  Aichi-en is another good place to check out in Nagoya as well as Shunka-en North of Tokyo (Yannick Kiggen is there and their display class is killer). 

I'm leading a small tour in November to the Taikan-ten if the group fills up to seek Osaka, Kyoto, and potentially Nagano (Shinji Suzuki's bonsai garden).  The last being mainly because I want to go  :).  Bjorn is has a tour website set up called The Kyoto Network.  Worth everyone checking out.....

I'd be happy to help as well to recommend some sights in Tokyo.  There is a marketing campaign currently going on to attract more visitors to Omiya.  It's called VISIT JAPAN! and you can find them online or Facebook.  Suggest contacting someone in the know before going to Omiya as I got lost often and I speak Japanese.....

If you plan your trip well you may not need a guide, but having burnt up a few days myself in 2009 wandering around, I'd suggest it.

Go for at least 2 weeks; 3 would be better.  A JR or national railpass can save you a lot and open up more opportunities to travel further from your jumping off point.  I think I will write something up on my blog about visiting Japan as these questions are often asked. 

One final suggestion.  If you think you need to save $1000 for bonsai stuff, save $3000  ;D.
Title: Re: Trip to Japan
Post by: John Kirby on March 25, 2013, 04:58 PM
Auto correct changed kouka-en to kokanee (like salmon for me...)
Title: Re: Trip to Japan
Post by: JDNeessen on April 02, 2013, 01:14 AM
Thanks everyone for your input.  I'll definitely check out the sites you mentioned.  I've got some  time to save some money and I plan on taking Japanese so I'm not at a total loss when I'm there. 

Good point about saving some extra cash for purchases.  Thanks again. 
Title: Re: Trip to Japan
Post by: Owen Reich on April 02, 2013, 09:50 PM
My blog has a "crash course" on bonsai Japanese and a few links to get you started HERE: ( (

Rosetta Stone does work if you devote the time to it.  Getting a Japanese significant other is by far best......  ;D