You can now own a little part of Japan to have in your own room!
If you have trouble keeping plants alive, these are the bonsai for you.
This is the first time we’ve ever seen a levitating bonsai.
Tokyu Hands is known for its amazing array of goods. From bicycles to Kabuki face masks and everything in between, this is a company that’s built their brand with a focus on providing unique and innovative Japanese products to the local and international market.
Now, the cafe on the top floor of their Shibuya store is also showcasing its creative credibility, by transforming its space into a pop-up Bonsai Cafe, in collaboration with the Omiya Bonsai Museum in Saitama. With miniature trees and special goods on display, here it’s the unusual menu that’s really taking centre stage.
After seeing photos of their special matcha latte, an unusual tiramisu and a parfait served in a bonsai pot, we pulled on our gumboots and headed out on a rainy afternoon to give these treats a try. Come with us as we treat our taste buds to an enchanted walk through a delicious miniature garden.
Even without adornment, a well-done bonsai is a sight to see. It’s amazing how something as massive and powerful as a tree can be hemmed and trimmed to create a delicate, miniature version of itself. But for some, that level of artistry doesn’t go far enough.
Now bonsai artists are adding fantastical tree houses and other structures around their vegetative creations, resulting in multi-level, gravity-defying feats of architecture that still fit under a garden cloche.
Have you ever come across a beautifully colored, picture book-worthy mushroom while walking in the woods or the park? I still remember the flashy fungi I happened upon when I was in seventh grade; I was near a mountain biking course in Rhode Island and amid the grass was a cute yellow mushroom with red dots, much like a Mega Mushroom from New Super Mario Bros. I considered picking it but I was pretty sure my fingers would start to rot off upon contact, and it would have shriveled up soon enough anyway. Oh, I wondered, will the days of ornamental mushrooms never come?
Enter Takuto Shibuya, whose life-long love of toadstools compelled him to find a way to marvel at their variegated beauty at home. His book Kinoko (Mushroom) Bonsai, released back in June, includes photos of his work as well as instructions on how to make your own. But wait—this type of bonsai isn’t about replanting your find in a pot. Because mushrooms are difficult to take care of, Shibuya took a hint from the Japanese traditions of bonsai and figurines and decided to preserve their alluring forms by recreating them in clay. Read on to take a closer look at his creations as well as his process!
If you’ve ever wanted to see villages and merchant markets from your favourite role-playing games come to life, then we’ve got quite the collection for you. These are the amazing three-dimensional artworks of Takanori Aiba, a Japanese artist who also designed Ninja Akasaka, the famous ninja restaurant in Tokyo and the 1958-themed Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.
Aiba is now drawing on his experience in architecture and combining it with his origins as a maze illustrator to produce stunning worlds within the tiny branches of bonsai trees and out of the crevices of unique rocks. From Ghibli-style seaside towns to a bustling hotel built inside the body of the Michelin man, these elaborate designs will simply take your breath away.
Bonsai and sushi are two of Japan’s most well-known cultural exports with fans all over the world. But while Japan may cling to the traditional presentation of these two icons, globalization has taken these Japanese icons and turned them into something new. Not just happy with tiny trees and raw fish on top of vinegar rice, these cultural hybrids have evolved into something far beyond their origins in the Japanese archipelago. Click below to see some very creative bonsai as well as some food that really stretches the definition of “sushi.”
As you probably already know, bonsai is the Japanese art of growing miniature trees or shrubs in planters. You’ve may have already seen at least some tiny potted junipers, a common species for bonsai, at some point, but actually many different species are suitable for bonsai, including some flowering trees like wisteria, or fuji in Japanese.
Fuji has special significance in Japanese culture, supposedly representing beginnings, especially the start of a romance, and has been mentioned in historical waka poems going back to the 8th century. However, you don’t have to be Japanese to appreciate the beauty of these dangling ombre flowers, particularly when they come in the exquisitely tiny bonsai variety.
Saitama Prefecture might be known abroad for its connection to famous anime like Lucky Star and Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, but it’s better known in traditional art circles as a modern center for bonsai, the ancient practice of cultivating miniature trees. In fact, there is even a section of Saitama City called Bonsai Village that was once selected by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism as one of the 100 most scenic towns in Japan.
The prefecture has now created a smartphone game called Twit Bonsai to promote Saitama’s bonsai attractions, and although you may think pruning a virtual tree sounds like the height of boredom, the app is gaining an unexpectedly enthusiastic following. Read More
Recently, exports around the world of these little trees have increased by leaps and bounds. Hugely popular across Asia, Europe, and America, Bonsai exports to these areas have hit a record high, 10 times what they were only ten years ago. With the onset of autumn, as exports reach full-scale, people who work in the bonsai business hope that bonsai can regain some of its popularity domestically as well.