Have you ever seen Bonsai? Do you know? “Bonsai” is a Japanese pronunciation of the earlier Chinese term penzai. The word bonsai is often used in English as an umbrella term for all miniature trees in containers or pots. The purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation (for the viewer) and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity (for the grower). By contrast with other plant cultivation practices, bonsai is not intended for production of food or for medicine. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees growing in a container.
In Saitama City, there is a Bonsai Village where you can appreciate bonsai through the four seasons. Besides bonsai, in the Ōmiya Bonsai Art Museum (Saitamashi Ōmiya Bonsai Nijutsukan ), you can also view bonsai-related Ukiyo-e (a type of traditional Japanese artwork) and historical documents on various bonsai subspecies.
In order to appreciate a bonsai, it is essential to realize you have a miniature natural landscape before your eyes into a small bonsai pot. While looking at the bonsai as a whole is important, details such as the roots, trunk, stems and leaves also play a big role. When viewing a bonsai, first check how the roots are stretched.
After long years of cultivation, you can feel the vitality of the plant just by looking at how firmly its roots hold onto soil. On the second floor of the Ōmiya Bonsai Art Museum is a cafe, where customers can enjoy special drinks and dine on bonsai bentō (shown in the photo above) but available on weekends only. On the first floor there is a shop where you can buy bonsai-related souvenirs.
Bonsai hand towels, bonsai postcards, fans with bonsai pictures and other products are being sold as well. The Ōmiya Bonsai Art Museum is accessible via train on the JR Utsunomiya Line. Stop at Toro Station, use the east exit and you will reach the museum in five minutes to walk. The admission fee is 300 yen, but this one-and-only museum is a place that you should visit at least once in your life. Interesting? Please check it out!
9:00~16:30(March to October) 16:00(November to February)