Visit Shiga Prefecture’s Keiunkan at any time of year, and you are bound to see one of the best collections of bonsai trees in Japan. However, it is best to visit the venue at the beginning of the year, during the Nagahama Plum Tree Bonsai Exhibition, when all 300 of the trees come into full bloom.

Starting in 1952, the Nagahama Plum Tree Bonsai Exhibition will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year. Due to being both the largest and oldest exhibition of plum bonsai exhibitions in Japan, visiting the event has become a much loved Spring season tradition in Kansai.

During the event, approximately 90 of Keiunkan’s 300 plum blossom trees will be on display at any one time, in accordance with their individual flowering periods.
The exhibition is well known for displaying both old trees reaching 400 years in age, and also what might be uncharacteristically large for bonsai specimens, with some exceeding 3m in height.

The tatami room, which was built during the Meiji era, is filled with rows of plum bonsai trees, and is particularly popular amongst visitors during the event.
As you can imagine, with so many trees in bloom, the scent of plum blossoms spreads throughout the building, and is said to soothe the hearts of all visitors.

As this year marks the event’s 70th anniversary, it has been upscaled and will collaborate with Tottori Prefecture’s ‘Daisen-to Wakasa’ – a light up umbrella display popular on instagram – and a project team of Kyoto University of Art and Design. The university art team will be led by paper-cutting artist Tetsuhei Hayakawa to create a ‘Bonsai no Mori’ papercut habitat, where wildlife can be seen coexisting alongside bonsai trees.

Nagahama Plum Tree Bonsai Exhibition 2021

Dates: 9 January – 10 March 2021
Hours: 09:00am – 17:00 *Opening hours are extended until 20:30 on illumination evenings. (last admission 30 minutes prior to closing)
Venue: Keiunkan, Minatocho, Nagahama City. Located 3 minutes walk from JR Nagahama Station.

Adults: 800 yen
Junior high school and lower: 400 yen

Keep up to date with the event, find out which trees are currently on display and when evening illuminations will be happening by checking out the Nagahama Plum Tree Bonsai Exhibition 2021.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.