香川県高松市鬼無町 - Less famous, but many times larger than and perhaps almost as beautiful as Omiya, Kinashi is a very impressive sight and surely worth some time in your travel itinerary.

The area has a history of growing Bonsai for over 250 years and it has an 80% share in the domestic market of pine trees. About a hundred nurseries are located here, of which about a dozen can be considered high-end (training high quality trees). Many large fields of young nursery plants are grown in the area too, making the entire neighborhood feel like heaven on earth.

You won’t find many deciduous trees here, as most nurseries grow solely pine trees. The nurseries described here (13 in total) are the ones I liked most or were simply conveniently located; note that there are many other impressive gardens I did not describe. Taking pictures at the nurseries is generally no problem. There is an exchange market every 5th, 15th and 25th of every month and the main market on the 15th of March and November is worth visiting.

The annual Bonsai festival is held in late October at Ueki Bonsai center. This is at the same time as the Takamatsu Bonsai Convention, which comes highly recommended, as masterpiece Bonsai trees are on display at the two main tourist sights of Takamatsu (Tamamo park and Ritsurin).

 

 

Kinashi Bonsai village

Kinashi, Takamatsu

 

Bonsai nurseries in Kinashi Bonsai village

 

1) Yamashita-shouwaen (山下昭和園)

One of the relatively smaller gardens, this place mostly grows young nursery trees.
English spoken: No
Address: 761-8023 120-2 Sato (Tel. 881-3295) Store (Tel. 881-3295) (Number 14 on Kinashi map)

 

2) Orokyoku-shouen (尾路旭松園)

This garden is located just on the main street and showcases several beautiful Bonsai trees.
English spoken: No
Address: 761-8023 51 Sato (Tel. 881-2846 F 882-9376) Store (Tel. 881-2846 F 882-9376) (Number 15 on Kinashi map)

 

3) Nakanishi-chinshouen (中西珍松園)

This garden belongs to the same family as number 04 and is just as beautiful. Outside the gate several masterpieces welcome you in and once inside the fun doesn’t stop either. The daughter-in-law (Yoichi Kana) speaks English fluently and can guide you through the garden.
English spoken: Yes
Address: 761-8023 148 (Tel. 882-0526 F 882-9578) Store (Tel. 882-0526 F 882-9578) (Number 16 on Kinashi map)

 

4) Konishi-shourakuen (小西松楽園)

This is one of the largest gardens I have seen and is home mostly to young trees (though some inspiring mature trees can be found here too). The incredibly friendly owners will give you a warm welcome.
English spoken: Yes
Address: 761-8023 217 Sato (Tel. 881-2912 F 881-2912) Store (Tel. 881-2912 F 881-2912) (Number 18 on Kinashi map)

 

5) Youseien (養盛園)

This nursery located just east of the train station has a large collection of gorgeous Bonsai trees. The owner is very friendly and will guide you around the garden. A Bonsai map of the area is also available here.
English spoken: No.
Address: 761-8024 36-1 Fujii (Tel. 881-2924) Store (Tel. 881-2924) (Number 22 on Kinashi map)

 

6) Nakanishi-chinshouen (中西珍松園)

This large and beautiful garden takes care in displaying the trees and should not be missed. The Bonsai trees (both deciduous and coniferous) are of exceptional quality.
English spoken: No (unless the daughter-in-law is present).
Address: 761-8023 148 (Tel. 882-0526 F 882-9578) Store (Tel. 882-0526 F 882-9578) (Number 16 on Kinashi map)

 

7) Kitadani-shokkoen / -syokkoen (北谷植古園)

This nursery offers some very impressive Bonsai trees, mostly exporting to Taiwan. The friendly owner speaks English.
English spoken: Yes
Address: 761-8023 236-1 Sato (Tel. 881-2943 F 881-0565) Store (Tel. 881-2943 F 881-0565) (Number 17 on Kinashi map)

 

7) Matsuda-seishouen / -seishoen (松田清松園)

The owner of this garden is particularly friendly and speaks English fluently. The shop focuses on exports towards Taiwan and China. The garden was a little bit messy when I got there, but some trees were great.
English spoken: Yes
Address: 761-8023 165-2 Sato (Tel. 881-2947 F 881-0105) Store (Tel. 881-2947 F 881-0105) (Number 33 on Kinashi map)

 

8) Honzu-Suiseien (本津翠星園)

Nice garden, not too big.
English spoken: No
Address: 761-8024 32-1 Fujii (Tel. 881-2225 F 881-222) Store (Tel. 881-2225 F 881-2225) (Number 21 on Kinashi map)

 

9) Yamashiro-hasshouen (㈱山白八松園)

This is one of the many places in Kinashi that focuses on growing garden trees up to five meters.
English spoken: No
Address: 761-8023 672-2 Sato (Tel. 881-1503 F 881-2936) Store (Tel. 881-1503 F 881-2936) (Number 78 on Kinashi map)

 

10) Kandaka-fujushouen (神高福松園)

Nice garden with several impressive pine trees, though not as well displayed as elsewhere.
English spoken: No
Address: 761-8025 418-3 Yamaguch (Tel. 881-3812 F 881-3812) Store (Tel. 881-3812 F 881-3812) (Number 79 on Kinashi map)

 

11) Kandaka-shojuen (神高松寿園)

According to most locals, this garden is number one in Kinashi. The trees in the enclosed part of the back garden are masterpieces and are well displayed. The garden also sells trees to visitors and most trees have price tags on them. At the entrance you will find a remarkable old tree with branches over four meters long just hanging over the ground, supported by scaffolds.
English spoken: Some
Address: 761-8025 428-1 Yamaguchi (Tel. 881-2852 F 882-7217) Store (Tel. 881-2852 F 882-7217) (Number 80 on Kinashi map)

 

12) Ideuekik-kouen (出上吉洸園)

The friendly owner will proudly present you his trees, some of which are just superb. Most of the trees are yamadori. When I got there one of the trees (over 200 years old) was just featured in the newspaper.
English spoken: Yes
Address: 761-8026 461-1 (Tel. 881-2910 F 881-2910) Store (Tel. 881-2910 F 881-2910) (Number 28 on Kinashi map)

 

 

Map of Kinashi Bonsai village

Kinashi Bonsai village, Map

Open this map on Google maps: Kinashi Bonsai village.

At the Kinashi Bonsai website a detailed map is available for download; this is the same one you can pick up at Youseien nursery (#5). The numbering applied on this map corresponds with the numbers I added behind the nurseries’ addresses. Nursery #106 is a bit far away, but supposedly great.
Link: www.kinashi-Bonsai.com/pdf/map1.pdf (the red dots are Bonsai nurseries).

 

 

How to get there

Kinashi is a neighborhood of Takamatsu city (on the Shikoku island). Though the area is much larger than Omiya, most gardens are within walking distance from Kinashi station. Inside the train station is a good restaurant serving authentic Chinese dishes worth trying. To get there, take a train from Takamatsu central station (which leave every 10 minutes).

To get to Takamatsu from Honshu (the Japanese mainland), take a Shinkansen to Okayama and from there transfer to a train bound for Takamatsu. This train ride takes 55 minutes and is worth the trip itself as it passes a network of huge bridges over the Inland Sea. Note that Okayama is home to Korakuen, one of the top three gardens in Japan (definitely worth a visit), while Takamatsu houses Ritsurin-Koen garden, another superb garden (indeed, also recommendable…)!

Official website: www.kinashi-bonsai.com