Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Mansei-en, Saburo Kato and forest plantings

I was surprised to find that the most popular post in my blog consists of one photo and 47 words (see: I posted it only as a brief afterthought following my visit to Mansei-en, Omiya in February 2010 (see: I didn’t expect any follow up on that post, but reading Saburo Kato’s book ‘Forest, rock planting and Ezo Spruce bonsai’ triggered another post providing a bit of history of this beautiful forest planting known as ‘Saihate-no-oka’ (see: The latter post was reasonably popular too, so I decided to spill the rest of my  Mansei-en experiences in this post.

It is located further away from the Omiya-koen Station and it is probably the most spacious nursery in the Bonsai Village or Bonsai-cho (see photos above). Bonsai master Saburo Kato was the 3rd generation owner of this nursery until he died in 2008. In consistence with its reputation Mansei-en did feature a number of forest plantings and group plantings on rocks, however hardly any of them were as impressive as ‘Saihate-no-oka’. See it for yourself the images below.

It also had lots of impressive individual bonsai trees (some of them are shown below).

There was only one apprentice minding the nursery when I visited it. In contrast to other nurseries, he let me take photos and was very helpful. I told him that I was looking for a book on kowatari pots. He found a book on the subject and even translated some of the illustration captions. Overall, I felt that Mansei-en was not as commercial as other nurseries in Omiya.

P. S. For my posts about bonsai nurseries in Kyoto see the following links:

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