You can now own a little part of Japan to have in your own room!
Trains are the main mode of transport for many Japanese people. In fact, trains are so deeply integrated into Japanese society that the mere image of a sakura cherry blossom tree beside a railroad track will no doubt strike some nostalgic chords.
With this thought in mind, Tetsuo Kawakami, president of the Railway Diorama Studio in Kyoto City, tried combining the concept of bonsai and railroad tracks. Breathing life into the world of dioramas, Kawakami hopes to capture scenes that remind us of simpler times with his “Bonramas” exhibit, now being held in Saitama Prefecture.
These little box-like works of art create snapshots of the everyday lives of Japanese people. Even for those of us who may not fully appreciate the nostalgic kick they may bring to natives, we can at least have a piece of beautiful Japan in our living room. Because the railroad tracks in these Bonramas are sensitive to moisture, model plants are used instead of real bonsai.
They come in all sorts of sizes too. The impressive Bonrama found in the top image is set in a large dish 28 centimeters (11 inches) in diameter, and comes with a movable train! Priced at a steep 43,200 yen (US$390), only six of these are available at the Bonrama exhibition.
The next one below measures 19.5 by 8.5 centimeters. The rock, sakura cherry blossom tree and railroad track are so compact that the piece looks good enough to eat. You can sit your own toy train on the tracks too if you feel so inclined. With eight of these available and priced at a reasonable 3,240 yen (US$29.00), this seems to be the hottest pick.
▼ The Zen is strong in this one.
Crafted in 2.55-inch bowls, the two pieces featured below can easily fit into the palm of your hand! These are 2,160 yen (US$19) each and only 30 of them are available.
If you’re still on the fence about these works of art, the Bonrama exhibition is being held from April 26 to May 2 at the Omiya branch of department store Takashimaya. You can appreciate a range of Bonramas there, as well as take part in a Bonrama-making workshop led by Kawakami himself! The workshops are for only eight attendees and held three times a day at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., lasting 60 minutes each.
Bonrama Exhibition / 盆ラマの展
Address: Saitama-ken, Saitama-shi, Omiya-ku, Daimoncho, 1-32, Omiya Takashimaya first floor, front hall
Open: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.