Naturally-occurring bonsai?! Yes, Itoigawa has them, too…

Itoigawa Inside Out

Spring has come to Itoigawa: the snow is melting day by day even in the mountain valleys, and white is giving way to brown and, gradually, shoots of fresh green. I have even managed to collect a few butterbur flowers, enough to make the local delicacy of “chanmairo miso” (a bittersweet sauce made with the chopped-up flowers, usually eaten with rice), which is the first taste of spring.


However, there is another sign of spring that is special to Itoigawa: the appearance of bonsai outside people’s houses. Itoigawa is particularly famous for “shinpaku”, or juniper, bonsai: there are several professional bonsai growers, but also many more people who grow bonsai as a hobby. In many cases, the bonsai have been in the family for several generations. The trees are usually moved into a shed during the snowy winter, but now it’s warm enough to bring them outside again.

IMG_2914Shinpaku bonsai…

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