Let’s stroll through a forest of perfect miniature trees!

Bonsai Village in Ōmiya

The Ōmiya Bonsai Art Museum is a work of art in itself—the trees are displayed in a beautifully-designed landscape that feels like a contemporary Japanese garden. It showcases the trees amid traditional fences and rockscapes

Bonsai Village is the neighborhood surrounding the Bonsai Art Museum in Ōmiya, which is home to the biggest concentration of bonsai nurseries in Japan. If you’re as much of a tiny tree fangirl as I am, ogling the pristine specimen trees at the museum followed by a stroll through nurseries packed with works-in0-progress is one of the must-see day trips near Tokyo.

Inside its serene walled garden, the city outsides ceases to exist
Magnificent examples of both evergreen and deciduous trees are on display, which means that they change with every season. A visit back to the bonsai museum in the fall, for example, will deliver brilliant miniature autumn leaves. In spring, flowering types will be in bloom…
…and in summer, some will be laden with fruit
Each tree has enough room around it so it can be appreciated without distraction, and the ones that are singled out as being okay for picture taking* have nice backgrounds, so your photos really will do them justice.

And now it’s time to walk around the neighborhood and see the living art of bonsai in practice!

There are a number of bonsai nurseries in the neighborhood (see map for the biggest ones)
They’re not so artfully displayed as at the museum, but it’s really interesting to see the sheer variety of bonsai styles, ages and methods of training.

*Photos are only allowed in selected spots at the museum and are prohibited at the nurseries (which of course is their right, since they are private businesses). At first, this made no sense to me—are they worried someone might knock off their design and produce counterfeit bonsai…in 50 years?—until I realized that the trees are so photogenic they undoubtedly attract people who think it would be great place to stage their social media shoots for free +_+ Some will allow you to take a snap or two if you ask nicely and are only doing it for your own personal memories, as long as you don’t make a big production of it or use a tripod.

Ōmiya Bonsai Art Museum address: 2-24-3 Torocho

Hours: 9:00-16:30, closed Thursdays

Admission: Free

Bonsai nursery addresses:

Mansei-en: 247 Bonsai-cho

Fuyo-en: 96 Bonsai-cho

Fuyo-en: 285 Bonsai-cho

Kyuka-en/Seiko-en: 131 Bonsai-cho

Most bonsai nurseries open at 9:00

Here’s where Ōmiya is:

Here’s a more local map, showing where the museum, nurseries, and nearest train stations are:

The Ōmiya Bonsai Art Museum is about a 5-minute walk from Toro Station and a 10-minute walk from Omiyakoen Station

Here’s how to get to Bonsai Village from Tokyo:

I used the Japan Navigation phone app to figure out this route, and you can easily use it too, with your actual date and preferred arrival time. It’s also good for finding the easiest way to get to Ueno Station from where you’re staying. Here’s where to get the app and how to use it.

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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo, produces the monthly Japanagram newsletter, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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