Pruned to Perfection
Angyo Bonsai & Greenery Fair
Bonsai – literally meaning ‘cultivated in a tray’ – is believed to have originated over 1,700 years ago in China from where it spread to Japan and became a pastime of the elite. Cultivated to resemble a miniature – and more ‘perfect’ – version of a mature tree, bonsai styles include ‘informal upright’ with gentle curves added to the trunk, and ‘cascade’ with the trunk arching dramatically over the edge of its tray. Many growers liken the practice to meditation, patiently watching the seasons transform the bonsai, and it’s also said to inspire contemplation in the viewer – so how better to relax over the weekend than by exploring Tokyo’s fascinating Bonsai & Greenery Fair in Azabu Juban!
Whether you’re a bonsai veteran wanting to delve deeper or simply on a family day out, you can meet the esteemed growers and watch them at work pruning, moulding with wire and grafting new branches. Many varieties will be on sale with prices starting from 500¥, while collectibles can sell for thousands more (a 250-year-old juniper was sold in 1981 for US$2 million!). And if you miss the festival, you can always head up to Angyo – a place long associated with bonsai – just 45 minutes by rail from Azabu-Juban. Zen!