32nd Annual Taikan-ten

32nd Annual Taikan-ten

32Taikan-ten-16Japanese Maple Shishigashira.  This tree won the Kokufu prize at the 86th show.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend the 32nd annual Taikan exhibit held in Kyoto.  The show was held on November 23rd-26th and considered the second most famous show in Japan. I took photos of many of the trees and are going to share them with you in this post.  If you’d like to see some photos from the previous year, please click here.  Again, this year I didn’t take photos of all the trees in the show but some of the ones that caught my attention.  I hope that these photos will motive you readers out there to plan a future trip to Kyoto and see the show with your very own eyes.  Not to mention that Kyoto is amazing during the Fall with all the colors.

Well then… there are 53 photos to look at so let’s get started!

32Taikan-ten-15Very nice Japanese Black Pine.  This tree won the Kokufu-ten prize at the 86th show.

32Taikan-ten-13Here’s a Japanese Red Pine that my good friend and fellow apprentice Tyler Sherrod worked on for the show!

32Taikan-ten-17Here’s a well-known Shimpaku in an old Chinese Antique pot.  I’ve seen this tree in Kokufu before.

32Taikan-ten-21This Japanese Black Pine was in the 86th annual Kokufu-ten show.  It’s an easy tree to remember because of the massive overhanging trunk!

32Taikan-ten-22Here’s a closer look at the girth!  Mr. Tanaka says that this tree is very old and that unfortunately, the bark characteristics on this tree tends to peel and fall off easily.

32Taikan-ten-20Check out the cool dead wood on this Shimpaku!

32Taikan-ten-19Another nice Shimpaku!

32Taikan-ten-18Very old Red Pine.

32Taikan-ten-23This Shimpaku is very interesting.  Look at the nice movement of the trunk and the full developed pads.  I believe this tree won the main prize!

32Taikan-ten-24This was my favorite Needle Juniper in the show!

32Taikan-ten-25Here is a well-known Shimpaku and an, “Important Bonsai Masterpiece.”

32Taikan-ten-27This cascading crabapple is one of the best I’ve ever seen! Amazing!  Also, not the easiest tree to move around and required three people to set it on the stand. 😉

32Taikan-ten-28Big hefty Sewartia.  I like how the trunk has movement.  Many tend to be somewhat straight.

32Taikan-ten-30This Shimpaku has a very interesting trunk line.

32Taikan-ten-31Here’s a nice Japanese Maple with a flaring base.  This maple looks like its needs to get somewhere quick!

32Taikan-ten-32Another Japanese Maple but with two trunks.

32Taikan-ten-33Here is a massive and heavy White Pine grafted on to a Black Pine trunk.  The nice thing about the tree is that the transition from Black Pine to White pine trunk is clean with good even taper.  It took four of us to set this tree on the stand (coffee table ;-)).

32Taikan-ten-34Here’s a solid Satsuki Azalea.

32Taikan-ten-35I thought the movement of this Japanese Plum is very nice!

32Taikan-ten-36Another cool looking Shimpaku.  Look at that movement!

32Taikan-ten-37Here’s an Akebia vine.  Their fruit fascinates me!

32Taikan-ten-4Here’s another Akebia vine with one of the fruit that is the  size of a large potato!  Again, very interesting though I hear it’s a pretty invasive vine.

32Taikan-ten-29Here’s a close up of one of the fruit open.  The pulpy seeds on the inside will turn purple when ripen such as the fruit beside it.  It will then dry up and drop the seeds.

32Taikan-ten-38Here is a Chinese Quince that I’ve always admired.  This tree is well-known and an “Important Bonsai Masterpiece.”

32Taikan-ten-39Another cool Chinese Quince.

32Taikan-ten-40This Ezo Spruce is really cool.  I love everything about it!

32Taikan-ten-42Here’s a small and dense Japanese Quince.  That’s a pretty cool root stand too!

32Taikan-ten-53Here’s a Chinese Quince with Fall colors!

32Taikan-tenHere’s one of the few Yews in the show.  My good friend and fellow apprentice Chris Baker prepared this tree for the show.

32Taikan-ten-3This amazing Satsuki Azalea won the Kokufu prize in the 86th show.

32Taikan-ten-51This is a very nice medium size Black pine.  It won first prize for medium size conifer.  Very difficult to find a small tree with a large old trunk with thick bark a no scars!

32Taikan-ten-52Large bunjin Red Pine.  I like how the tree is covering a part of the scroll behind it.

32Taikan-ten-6Here’s a nice semi cascading Euonymus.  Or is it a very steep slant?  Either way, cool fruit!

32Taikan-ten-5I thought this Shimpaku was pretty sweet.  I always liked junipers that had their life veins flow above the apex and then drops back down.

32Taikan-ten-8Here are some shohins.  That’s one powerful Black pine up top.

32Taikan-ten-9More shohins.

32Taikan-ten-10I thought the exposed root Black Pine was very nice.




32Taikan-ten-26Here are some of the trees placed in their respective categories for judging.

32Taikan-ten-43The gentlemen in the suits are running the show and the judging whereas the red jacket guys are the crew to help move trees for judging.

32Taikan-ten-44Some medium trees set for judging.  Pre-judging normally comes down to the three best within the category.

32Taikan-ten-45Here’s where the big guys go!

32Taikan-ten-46Lots and lots of trees to judge!

32Taikan-ten-48Professionals do all the pre-judging and the bonsai dignitaries pick the winners!

32Taikan-ten-49In the show there were two large old pots that were displayed as well.  Both Porcelin and beautifully painted.  The details are amazing!  I’m sure they are both very old and very expensive.  Here’s one of them.

32Taikan-ten-50Here’s the other one!

32Taikan-ten-2For you wood buffs out there, here’s a shot of an old and nicely made table.

32Taikan-ten-47Here’s an old Chinese Antique stand.  Very fine and heavy!

32Taikan-ten-14This table had to have taken a long time to make!  Very high quality artistry and workmanship!

Well there you have it!  Some of the trees of Taikan-ten, among other things.  I also took photos of the large sales area and the many suiseki that were on displayed as well.  That’s one of the things I really like about this particular show is that there is a section for Bonsai, a section for suiseki and certain displays with both mixed together.  I think it works well together and adds so much more to the show.  I gave my good friend Sam photos of the sales and suiseki to post on his blog so if you’d like to seem them, please click on the following links below:

Taikan-ten Part 1 (Suiseki)

Taikan-ten Part 2 (Suiseki)

Taikan-ten Part 3 (Sales Area)


I highly recommend reading this post about the meaning behind the characters written by a  famous Japanese porcelain painter by the name of Tsukinowa Yusen.

Tsukinowa Yusen- In search of another Answer

Thanks for reading everyone!

P.S.  I’ll be soon writing the post about this huge Shimpaku that I was tasked to wire and style for both the Gomangoku (Daiju-en) exhibit and for the 87th Kokufu-ten exhibit. Stay tuned


P.S. If you are actively reading this blog, I would appreciate it if you subscribe to it (right column of the blog).  This is one of the best ways for me to know how many people are reading.  Thanks!

Tagged , , ,

15 thoughts on “32nd Annual Taikan-ten

  1. Ray says:

    As always, nothing less than amazing trees. I can still remember our first trip. Thank you for sharing these wonderful trees take care, see you soon. Ray.

  2. Sam Edge says:

    Those two pots are just incredible. Beautiful trees Peter. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Reblogged this on Bonsai Prelude and commented:
    I had posted a round-up of the recent Taikan-ten in an earlier post. Just wanted to add a last minute entry from Peter.

  4. Penny Pawl says:

    Will any of the little ones fit in your pocket!!??? Penny

  5. X.TREMOUILLE says:

    Very beautiful exhibition thx very much Peter for the Amazing pics of BONSAI 🙂

  6. John Cavey says:

    Hi Peter

    Thanks for the new post, I love them all.

    Very tempting to get the bones in shape for next year.


    John D Cavey


    A member of the cid:E9231D6E-B950-4F76-884D-44F7A67582C5@gateway.2wire.net

  7. Jack says:

    “Old Chinese Antique pot”
    Does the differ from old Chinese pot? Or from Chinese Antique pot?

  8. Jim Gremel says:

    Thanks Peter – very inspiring!

  9. Daniel Dolan says:


    Other worldly beauty……..

    Can you please explain how, in a culture devoted to refining the smallest detail with such sensitivity and elegance…..their solution to identifying these works of art is to hang a “Macy’s price tag” on them, to say little of how it affects one’s experience of the tree itself.

    Please send contact info for Exhibition organizers…..I have a suggestion.

    Best regards,


    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi Daniel,

      I apologize and I should had mentioned that in the post. The tags were placed on the trees that were being judged. Once the show opened, all the tags were removed. I was there on the setup day so not all the trees were setup yet. LOL

      Thanks as always Daniel and take care

  10. Jeff Lahr says:

    Thanks, Peter. Always amazing trees, but in this blog I was especially impressed with the quince.

    Of course it will be great to have you back in the states, but I will miss this posts from Japan!

  11. cherylas2009 says:

    Hi Peter,
    love to look at your photos of good trees. Pot choices are always interesting also.

  12. Great photos Peter, Thanks for putting them up for us to see!

  13. Frank Kelly says:

    Hi Peter, thanks for the brilliant photo essay. It is hard to believe that I was at Taikan ten 31 and now the next exhibition has come and gone – how time flies. Your post brought brings back great memories. The colour of the maples is fantastic as usual. Regards and best wishes for the coming festive season.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: