Field Trip to Obuse, Part 2

Part 2, Shoujyu-en

The next nursery we went to was Shoujyu-en.  Shoujyu-en is owned by a man named Mr. Eura.  His specialty seems to be Shimpaku because there was so many of them there.  Were all amazed at the twist and turns the trees had and I was surprised to find out that a famous tree resides there.  I’m getting excited just talking about it.  I’m sure you’re excited to see some pictures, so here they are.

Here is one section of the nursery.  There’s a lot of deadwood sticking out all over the place!

Here’s the same picture but from a different angle.  This is what you first see when you walk through the gate.

The man on the far left is Mr. Eura.  Here he’s explaining what he’s planning on doing to a collected Shimpaku.

One of the interesting trees at the nursery

Another nice tree

This tree here is in development but the trunk is just amazing!

Here’s the tree right next to the last picture.  Again, being developed but some beautiful deadwood features.

Another interesting trunk.  The plastic tape you see there is holding an approach graft to the life line.  Many of the collected trees here have Itoigawa shimpaku foliage grafted on to them.

This is going to be an amazing tree onces it’s finished!

This tree probably cost more then my car and everything else I own!

WOW!  I looked inside the tree and noticed that every branch was grafted.  A tree in development and a future masterpiece.  This is one of my favorite trees at the nursery.

Here’s a pic of Mr. Ken Fujiwara.  He drove the other van.  There was about 20 of us in the group.

This tree is the famous tree I was referring to earlier.  This juniper is named Fujin (Japanese God of Wind).  The tree has a smoky and mysterious vibe to it.  I’ve seen pictures of this tree in the past but didn’t realize how big the tree actually is.  The base of the trunk is about 2 feet wide!  Mr. Kawabi was the original creator of this tree years ago, but then Mr. Eura bought the tree and grafted Itoigawa foliage and replacing all the original foliage.  This is truly an amazing tree!  Another one of my favorites if not my most favorite tree in the yard. I’d be afraid to ask how much this tree cost…

Heading home

After we left Mr. Eura’s nursery, we all went out to have lunch.  I’ve been eating some very different and interesting foods here in Japan so I thought I’d share some of it with you.  One day I’m going to write a post just about the different foods I’ve eaten here in Japan.

We decided to go to a Curry house and this is what I ordered.  Curry with rice and pieces of boneless fried chicken.  The Japanese are big on curry so there are numerous restaurant here that serve only curry dishes.  Mr. Tanaka thought it would be funny if he got me the hottest curry.  It was spicy alright, but it tasted great!

On the drive back, we stopped at a rest stop and it had a look out point into the valley.  I think I can see Tyler from here!

After we drove everybody home and returned the rental van, it was about 8pm.  Mr. Tanaka took Mr. Fujiwara and I to dinner at a Shabu Shabu restaurant.  It’s a hot pot style of meal where you cook the meat and vegetables in a pot.  This place was great because the meat was all you can eat!  We definitely got our money’s worth that night and it was a fitting end to a long and fun day.

Thanks for coming along.


30 thoughts on “Field Trip to Obuse, Part 2

  1. Jeremiah Lee says:

    Peter you are the man for creating such an amazing blog, such a great 2 part post! I’m so jealous of you-Fujin is my favorite tree i’ve ever seen a picture of. I hope to see it someday in person.

  2. Lonnie says:

    Man, thanks so much for sharing your trip! Those tree are so amazing, and seeing them in person must have been a highlight of your stay so far. So can you imagine a collection like that with California, Sierra, and Western junipers?!! Truly inspiring!! And those red pines, lol…

  3. Gerrit says:

    Thanks for the writing about your bonsai journey, Peter! Keep the updates coming!

  4. alex says:

    hi Peter
    what’s the price about that juniper? not masterpiece

    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi Alex, I didn’t ask the price but I’m sure it’s more then 60,000 – 80,000 dollar range. I’ve seen others that weren’t as developed cost somewhere in the 50,000 dollar range. OUCH!

      • David says:

        I guess there is no bonsai crisis like we have in Europe :-). Nobody spent money on good trees these days…

      • Peter Tea says:

        Hi David,

        I think that is the case for the everybody right now. The US has that same problem too. In Japan, the price of trees have definitely fallen. If it was 10-15 years ago, the tree in question would have exceeded 100,000 dollars easily. Those were the days where a masterpiece tree would sell for a million dollars. I guess it’s all relative. LOL

  5. Tony Tickle says:

    Hi Peter… loving your posts

  6. bonsaijapan says:

    wow, that makes me miss Japanese food so much! Nothing beats Curry rice for a bit of comfort food.

    Shoujyu-en looks interesting, Is it located in Nagano aswell?

    • Peter Tea says:

      Shoujyu-en is in Obuse and is close to Shinji Suzuki’s place. I would suggest trying to visit both places if you are in the area.

  7. Peter Tea says:

    Thanks for reading everybody! I’m glad you all like the trees and the food!

  8. Peter Tea says:

    Here’s the answers to the Shabu-shabu comments!

    It was a really good meal. The broth at the end tasted really good because of all the meat and vegetables that we cooked. Before, I thought the veggies was the important part but Mr. Tanaka corrected me and said that you eat the meat first. It’s all about the meat! LOL The veggies came second to finish the meal off. This place had a divide in the pot so that you can have different types of broths in them. There was about 5 broths to choose from. For us, one was plain water and the other was some kind of chicken broth I think. It tasted really good! I can’t wait to have it again

  9. Shabu Shabu, I’ve had it here with broth to cook everything, but seems you have a divided cooking pot? What was in both sides?

  10. Wow! What beautiful trees! How ever are you going to come back to work on all our trees?

    • Peter Tea says:

      No problem Sandy. The technique on the great trees and the average trees are all the same. Japan has a head start on us, so we have to play catch up. The reason why I’m studying here is so I can help get the US to catch up even faster and take Bonsai to a new level.

  11. Jeff Q says:

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us Peter. Those were some amazing trees and it sounds like it was a great day, not to mention that you got to finish it up with some Shabu Shabu. I have not had that in years.

  12. David says:

    everybody only want itoigawa, is this a trend in bonsai?? Why is the original shimpaku foliage not good any more?
    Tx for sharing Peter

    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi David,

      The original foliage on currently collected Shimpakus are either Touhoku or Hokkaido Shimpakus. The foliage they have are much larger then Itoigawa or Kishu and is a darker bluish color. Currently people like the Itoigawa foliage so grafting it on to a great trunk would fetch top dollars. Not everybody is changing the foliage, but many are.

      • David says:

        Hi Peter,
        i know that kind of foliage, that’s indeed not so atractive. But that very old important one you talked about, they also changed the foliage, was that not regular shimpaku foliage. Also a bit larger then itoi or kishu, but still very suitable for bonsai…
        And like you said… it’s everywhere about the money ;-).
        Tx for you reply and keep posting those great info and pic’s.

      • Peter Tea says:


        I personally believe that the original foliage was good for the tree. I wouldn’t say it’s all about the money, but every professionals have their individual personalities. Some will stick to what they feel is best and others will cater to the popular styles. Others will be somewhere in between depending on the situation. I’m going to try and put it all on paper and organize my thoughts on it and write a future post about it.

      • David says:

        You are probably right Peter. It’s also a matter of taste off course.
        Anyway, you have the be a rich a guy to have a nursery like that i think 🙂
        Looking forward to read about your juniper thoughts.

  13. Kenny says:

    Finished up a fine day with an outstanding meal-all you can eat Shabu Shabu, YUM!

  14. Jeff Lahr says:

    You mentioned some collected Shimpaku. Can they still be found in wild?

    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi Jeff,

      They are still collecting Shimpakus in Japan but very limited. That’s why they fetch such a high price. The government has pretty much stopped all collecting but I’m sure there are junipers on some private land that’s still being collected.

  15. John Kirby says:

    Shabu-Shabu, good for you!

  16. Frank says:

    Wow ———– Geat day you had. What trees ! You siad a lot of the trees were grafted with Itoigawa do any of them use Kishu ? If so why or why not ?
    Great post !

    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi Frank,

      I ask that question to Mr. Tanaka and it turned out to be an hour long conversation about shimpaku junipers. There’s soo much info that I might just write a post about it in the future. A quick answer for you is that Itoigawa is the popular foliage right now. It’s finer and light green to green color. Kishu is very dense but the foliage is slightly larger. It also has a more bluish color which apparently people here do not like as much. It all came down to personal preference and what sells. If the trees were grafted with Kishu, the price would be lower. We all gotta eat I guess. LOL

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