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Traditional Culture Experiences

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Traditional Culture Experiences

Bonsai are potted trees and plants which are carefully cultivated to achieve an aesthetic effect. This concept was first imported from China into Japan more than a thousand years ago. Since then, Japan has developed a distinctive style of this art form.

In early times, bonsai was admired by aristocrats, priests, and others from the higher class. Commons then began to take delight in bonsai around the 17th century.

When Japan opened itself to Western countries after nearly three centuries of isolation from the world (1868), bonsai came to be appreciated as an art. People began growing bonsai not only as a hobby, but as an artistic pursuit. Large exhibitions were staged and books on growing techniques were published.

Today, bonsai is still a hobby the general public enjoys. It is also regarded as an important element in Japan’s cultural and artistic traditions. Bonsai illustrates the respect Japanese people have for living things and is an expression of nature’s beauty. Taking years of nurturing and commitment, bonsai is much more than just a potted tree.

While they are small, bonsai are no different than the trees we see around us nor are they a miniature species. They are rather tree branches carefully chosen and cultivated. There are various techniques used, such as trimming roots and wiring, to make the tree look like a smaller yet proportional version of their own species grown in nature. Bonsai are displayed in a way to show off their best features in a simplistic, shallow pot.

There are all sorts of trees and plants that can be used as a bonsai. Essentially, any plant that can be grown in a small container can be cultivated into a bonsai. The most popular varieties used are pine trees (matsu), maple trees (momiji), flowering cherry trees (sakura), and fruit-bearing quince trees (karin). The trees can be small enough to fit in the size of one’s palm, or grow as tall as a meter (three feet).

While bonsai can fall into various categories according to its shape, the most important factor is to allow the tree to express its individuality without forcing it into a particular category, and to help achieve its most beautiful, balanced form. Containers should also be chosen according the the tree’s size, shape, and color so it can be seen in its most exquisite light.

Different from other forms of art, there is no “finished” product when it comes to bonsai. They are living and grow in accordance to nature, so they must continue to be tended and cared for on a daily basis. It is key to appreciate the dignity of each plant and treat them with love and respect.

Japan is home to the world’s most beautiful bonsai trees. You can visit the most famous Japanese bonsai nurseries in Kanto (greater Tokyo region), while Kyoto houses the most impressive and uncountable Japanese gardens.

Bonsai are potted trees and plants which are carefully cultivated to achieve an aesthetic effect. This concept was first imported from China into Japan more than a thousand years ago. Since then, Japan has developed a distinctive style of this art form.

In early times, bonsai was admired by aristocrats, priests, and others from the higher class. Commons then began to take delight in bonsai around the 17th century.

When Japan opened itself to Western countries after nearly three centuries of isolation from the world (1868), bonsai came to be appreciated as an art. People began growing bonsai not only as a hobby, but as an artistic pursuit. Large exhibitions were staged and books on growing techniques were published.

Today, bonsai is still a hobby the general public enjoys. It is also regarded as an important element in Japan’s cultural and artistic traditions. Bonsai illustrates the respect Japanese people have for living things and is an expression of nature’s beauty. Taking years of nurturing and commitment, bonsai is much more than just a potted tree.

While they are small, bonsai are no different than the trees we see around us nor are they a miniature species. They are rather tree branches carefully chosen and cultivated. There are various techniques used, such as trimming roots and wiring, to make the tree look like a smaller yet proportional version of their own species grown in nature. Bonsai are displayed in a way to show off their best features in a simplistic, shallow pot.

There are all sorts of trees and plants that can be used as a bonsai. Essentially, any plant that can be grown in a small container can be cultivated into a bonsai. The most popular varieties used are pine trees (matsu), maple trees (momiji), flowering cherry trees (sakura), and fruit-bearing quince trees (karin). The trees can be small enough to fit in the size of one’s palm, or grow as tall as a meter (three feet).

While bonsai can fall into various categories according to its shape, the most important factor is to allow the tree to express its individuality without forcing it into a particular category, and to help achieve its most beautiful, balanced form. Containers should also be chosen according the the tree’s size, shape, and color so it can be seen in its most exquisite light.

Different from other forms of art, there is no “finished” product when it comes to bonsai. They are living and grow in accordance to nature, so they must continue to be tended and cared for on a daily basis. It is key to appreciate the dignity of each plant and treat them with love and respect.

Japan is home to the world’s most beautiful bonsai trees. You can visit the most famous Japanese bonsai nurseries in Kanto (greater Tokyo region), while Kyoto houses the most impressive and uncountable Japanese gardens.

photo of Japanese Bonsai