Kinashi Bonsai 鬼無の盆栽
For the love of bonsai
This small neighborhood in the town of Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku is home to some 270 bonsai specialists who alone produce 80% of the country's bonsai pines.
A large area of green is how we could summarize the Kinashi district, for those who would like to know more about this well-known place of bonsai in Japan.
All year-round, during the cold winter months or in the heat of summer, the Kinashi district, west of Takamatsu city, is adorned with green.
The reason? This is where the evergreen Matsu or Japanese pines have been cultivated for hundreds of years. With their persistent green needles and robust bark, they provide a colorful background to the largest city of Shikoku.
Recreate the harmony of nature
Horticultural nurseries are surrounded by vast fields of young plants, cultivated in large rows before being passed onto the experts, the bonsai masters. It takes five years of growth in the ground before pruning the shrub. Otherwise, they would die quickly, however, looked after carefully a bonsai can live for more than 100 years!
Native to China, the bonsai culture has crossed the borders of Japan to the 12th century.
Bonsai culture consists above all in miniaturizing a tree and giving it the shape you want. The Japanese bonsai masters also use small flowers, mosses or stones, to decorate their work in an attempt to recreate the harmony of nature in a pot. The meaning of bonsai means “tree in a pot”.
The bonsai remain small as the pot constrains its roots, and its branches regularly pruned. However, these are only miniaturized versions of the species that would resume their normal proportions and growth if replanted in the ground.
However, the art of bonsai is not for everyone, even those with green fingers. Careful pruning, the use of wire to sculpt the bonsai, meticulous watering, and creating and maintaining a bonsai tree takes time, patience, and expertise.
Nursery tour and bonsai festival
For the more curious, it is possible to visit individual nurseries (some owners even speak English and will not hesitate to inform you about their art).
Less known but just as remarkable as the bonsai village of Omiya, near Tokyo, Kinashi is a perfect stopover in the visit of the smallest of the four main islands of Japan, rarely visited by overseas visitors.
Especially since there is no shortage of events, exhibitions/sales are organized every 5th, 15th and 25th of the month. Every year, on 15th March and 15th November, a large bonsai market is organized and an annual festival dedicated to its bonsai is held at the end of October at the Ueki Bonsai Center, where there are 50,000 plants exhibited.