The Nagoya Castle Bonsai Show

On October 15-17 is the annual Nagoya Castle Bonsai Show.  This show is hosted by the  Aichi branch and Nagoya branch of the Japan Bonsai Association and it’s members.  The membership is a mixture of bonsai professionals and enthusiast, though the enthusiast are associated with a professional.  The show is an outdoor show but the trees are placed in a overhang.  This show is not a competition and is mainly directed towards the visitors of the castle.  The show is a more relaxed event so everybody was in good spirits and the trees themselves didn’t go through rigorous show preparations.  We took about 10 trees belonging to various customers and Mr. Tanaka to the setup on Friday afternoon and I was able to take some pictures of the many trees there and the castle it self.  In this post I will talk a bit about the castle and the numerous trees at the show.  There is almost 40 pictures so sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

The Nagoya Castle on a cloudy and misty day gives it a mysterious look.

I have always liked the high foundation that were built at the base of the castles in Japan.  That sloping rock foundation actually goes lower to a moat.  I would say that the foundation is about 60 feet high or more.  I can’t imagine how long it took to piece all those huge stones together.

The castle was completed in 1612.  During WWII this castle was destroyed and rebuilt in 1959.  Fortunately there were various other buildings that were not destroyed and  have the original wood frame from the 1600s.   The two gold pieces on top of the root are called Shachi and are painted or leafed in gold.  They are creatures that have a tiger head with a fish body.  These particular Shachi’s are at least 10 feet tall!

“Shachi or Shachihoko were frequently used as roof ornaments in the Edo Period (1600-1868) and found atop castles, tower gates, and samurai homes. These fish-shaped ornaments are placed at both ends of the main roof ridge, with the male Shachi placed on the left and the female Shachi on the right. The creatures are thought to provide protection against fire, as they are attributed with the power to control rain,” (Copyright Mark Schumacher,

Copyright Mark Schumacher,

Copyright Mark Schumacher,

If you would like more information about Nagoya Castle, click here

Now to the Bonsai Show!

Here is the layout of the show.  People will walk along this center path and see the show. I counted about 90 spaces for trees.

Here is a Needle Juniper that belongs to Mr. Tanaka’s customer.  The pot is Antique Chinese

This root over rock Trident Maple belongs to Mr. Tanaka

Mr. Tanaka sold this tree to a customer about a year ago.  Made in Aichi-en baby!

Here is a accent plant on a old roof tile.  I like!

Dwarf Asian Pear

Close up of the dwarf pear.  I almost want to eat them, though I have heard that they taste horrible.  I’ll be the judge of that!

Years ago a person told me that the Japanese don’t use succulents in Bonsai Shows so people in the US should not use them either.  Oh really???

I thought this Chinese Quince was really cool and look at that huge fruit!  The tree is like a paradox between my imagination and reality.  I’m looking at it and thinking of a large tree in nature and that fruit keeps reminding me that it’s just a small tree.  Good or bad, it’s definitely caught my attention.

Pyracantha with berries.  Adds nice color to the show.

I think this tree is a Camellia but not sure.  Interesting trunk line though.

Another nice Black Pine

I can’t remember the name of this tree but I’ve always liked the fruit it produces.  When they are fully ripe, they are completely red and almost translucent.

Satsuki Azalea


I think this is a Ficus but not sure

Here is a large Trident maple that belongs to Mr. Tanaka

Here is a pretty nice Five needle pine.  It’s over three feet tall. (75cm +)

This Japanese Maple belongs to Daiju-en’s customer by the name of Mr. Moriyama.  He’s a well known bonsai collector in Japan and owns several Kokofu-ten winning trees.  I think I did some maintenance work on it earlier this year.

Another pyracantha with even more berries.  Nice!

A large Korean Hornbeam

It wouldn’t be a Bonsai show unless you have one multi-trunk Five Needle Pine

Mr. Moriyama’s Korean Hornbeam

Mr. Moriyama’s Five Needle Pine.  I like the feeling of this tree.

A huge Five Needle Pine owned by Mr. Akio Kondo’s customer.  The trunk is actually hollow.  Very unusual style but nice none the less.  What do you think?

This is very nice Shimpaku.  It belongs to Mr. Akio Kondo’s customer.  The customer owns a few Kokufu-ten winning trees.  This tree looks small in the picture but is almost three feet tall. (75cm or so)

Nice beefy Black Pine

Here is a Japanese Maple on a rock.  The tree has started to change colors.

Big Black Pine

I thought this was interesting to look at.  Large stone with little small Shimpakus planted on it.  Trees growing off of a large mountain.  It looks heavy!  I’d be happy to have one of those little Shimpakus let alone put so many on one stone.

Last but not least, Japanese Maple with some great root spread and taper.

I hope you all enjoyed the show.  Technically I just saved you a trip to Japan to see it.  ;o)  

Thanks for visiting

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8 thoughts on “The Nagoya Castle Bonsai Show

  1. Peter Tea says:

    Thanks for the complements everybody and thank you Boon for the info on the trees. Take care everyone

  2. Barry McDonnell says:

    As usual, Peter, an education along with great pictures of trees. Keep up the good work. Also, appreciated the bonsai pots update.

  3. Dave Williams says:

    Thanks for saving us the airfare Peter! Love the posts…keep them coming!

  4. art says:

    excellent pics Peter !
    thanks for posting

  5. Kenny says:

    Thanks Peter for inviting us to the show with not only great pictures of the trees, but also the castle!

  6. Boon says:

    That bunjin camellia is Ocha no ki. – green tea camellia. It looks like it grows from root cutting. The long skinny trunk is actually root.
    The cluster fruit is chirimen katsura. A vine
    That need a male plant to pollinate. And the problem is that male plant and female bloom at different time.
    Thanks for posting. Keep up the good work

  7. Randi Sharp says:

    Fabulous! Amazing trees amazing pictures and a history lesson intertwined. Thanks for sharing and please keep posting;)

  8. cherylas2009 says:

    your post is one of the most interesting things on the internet! keep up the good work!


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