2020 94TH Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition– Part 1

Valavanis Bonsai Blog

1Part 1 February 8-11, 2020

Part 2 February 13-16, 2020


The Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition is the finest and longest running formal bonsai exhibition in the word.


The All Japan Bonsai Exhibition was held in Hibiya Park, Tokyo, Japan, from 1914-1933. Bonsai pioneer Norio Kobayashi (author, Editor and Publisher of Bonsai Magazine,) and Count Yoriyaga Matsudaira (shohin bonsai enthusiast, first President of the Kokufu Bonsai Society) organized the first Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan in March 1934 showing 96 bonsai. It was sponsored by the Kokufu Bonsai Society and the early exhibitions were held twice a year before suspending during the war. The private Kokufu Bonsai Society was transformed to the Nippon Bonsai Association in 1965 because of the growing popularity of bonsai. They are now the sponsors and the yearly exhibitions are held in early February. The 94th exhibition…

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2020 94TH Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition– Part 2

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


A few more photos from Part 1 of the 2020 94TH Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition:



Green Island Fig


Sekka Hinoki Cypress




Trident Maple displayed by Mark Cooper from England


All the front dead branches were “added” onto an unblemished trunk to add interest…



Chojubai Japanese Flowering Quince


Although the small orange red flowers and dark green foliage are attractive the MAIN reason this cultivar is grown is because of the rough bark which looks like Japanese flowering apricots


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A Visit To S-Cube, Masahiko Kimura, Mansei-en and Fuyo-en Bonsai Gardens

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Our small group, in a private van, first visited Seiji Morimae’s S-Cube Bonsai Garden Uchiku-tei in Hanyu, Japan. As always, Mr. Morimae was extremely busy with his large sales area in the Ueno Green Club and preparing for the Nippon Suiseki Exhibition. He showed me over 50 beautiful tables selected for display with the stones, including one of my prize suiseki for the exhibit.


His wife and staff warmly welcomed us and let us look around and photograph anywhere. Later on, as we were leaving Mr. Morimae showed me a special group of nearly 100 ancient Ezo Spruce bonsai collected by Saburo Kato’s father, Tomekichi Kato about 80 years ago. He will carefully select many of these historic bonsai masterpieces for his Bonsai Museum being built in Kyoto. I have seen so many collected Ezo Spruce at one time. It was special treat for me.




Masahiko Kimura Garden


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A Visit To Shunka-en Bonsai Museum

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in the Edogawa Ward of Tokyo is owned by award winning bonsai artist Kunio Kobayashi who is well known around the world. Visits to his museum are always one of my highlights to Japan. There is always something new to see. I was here a few weeks ago, and new bonsai have suddenly appeared, many large size Japanese black pine for the Chinese market.


One of Mr. Kobayashi’s talent is to share the beauty of his art through formal bonsai display. He designed his museum to feature about 12 different display alcoves of different sizes and degrees of formality. They are always spectacular and ready to photograph.


When our group arrived in the morning there was an army of people running around picking weeds out of the small gravel, washing containers outside on the growing tables, watering the stone paths for welcoming visitor and removing old pine…

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2020 94th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition Part 3

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Part 2 of the 2020 94th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition opened this morning at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. For the first several hours it seemed as though there were more foreigners than Japanese visitors. A great number of Americans, Italians, German, French, Australians and more were among the first to appreciate some of the finest quality bonsai in Japan. The crowd quickly thinned out after lunchtime.


Japanese oak


Firethorn, Pyracantha

Personally, I liked the bonsai in Part 2 better than those displayed in Part 1, but those were equally beautiful. I noticed a great number of containers made by Gyozan, so I counted all of them. Mr. Yukizyuou Nakano (Gyozan) specializes in large unglazed containers, but also hand makes smaller and glazed pots too. Mrs. Nakano is a talented artist as well and often hand paints scenes on containers her husband makes. There were 96 large bonsai displayed in…

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A Visit To Taisho-en Bonsai Garden

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Taisho-en Bonsai Garden is operated by Nobuichi Urushibata and his son Taiga. It is located in Shizuoka, Japan, near Mt. Fuji. Breathtaking views can be seen from streets and also at the train station where I took this photo through a window.


Dwarf Stewartia!


Japanese Maple $2,400


Crepe Myrtle


Nobuichi Urushibata is one of the top shohin bonsai artists in Japan who specializes in these diminutive treasurers. His son Taiga apprenticed with Masahiko Kimura and, of course, specializes in carving dead wood and large size bonsai. He is actually one of a small handful of professionals who can delicately wire small size as well as large size bonsai. He is quite skilled, has smarts and also speaks excellent English. A few years ago he was one of the judges and demonstrators for the 2018 US National Bonsai Exhibition. He is a popular demonstrator around the world.


Sargent Juniper winter coloring

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2020 94th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition Part 4

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Additional interesting photos from Part 2 of the 2020 94th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition and a few from Part 1 too. Enjoy and learn, I did.

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Displayed front


Another view


Chojubai Flowering Quince from the Green Club sales area $700. DIY?


Developed Chojubai Flowering Quince ready to display $4,000.


Great old appearing bark on Chojubai Flowering Quince.




Mini Bonsai


2020 An old historic unique Ezo Spruce displayed in the 1934 1st Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition.


March 1934 1st Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition. I have many developmental photos of this bonsai which went through the Yoshimura bonsai garden.


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