Shunkaen BONSAI Museum
Shunkaen BONSAI Museum
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
- Shunka-en is the Bonsai garden and museum set up by Bonsai master Kunio Kobayashi (three times winner of the Prime Ministers Award, the most prestigious price to be won in Japan). The garden is an absolute highlight and should not be missed. When entering the garden the first thing you are likely to note is the stunning 1000 year old pine tree in front of the house, the masterpiece of Mr. Kobayashi’s collection. Inside the house several tokonoma are set up and a large collection of books and antique Chinese pots and tables are displayed. by bonsai empire
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • Staffan L
    54 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful bonsai nursery with friendly staff
    We visited this bonsai garden/nursery and got totally blown away by all the beauty and history that was hidden here. Very friendly and knowledgeable staff showed us around and explained both the history surrounding bonsai and how it’s done today. Well worth the 45’ train and bus ride from downtown Tokyo and we spent just short of 2 hours in the garden walking around taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful trees.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 24, 2023
  • Hadley O
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Many Bonsai Masterpieces to Admire!
    This is an absolute must do in Edogawa while you visit Japan. It was a little bit outside of town, but totally worth the time to get there. The museum is incredibly well laid out and has so many bonsai masterpieces. It was raining while we were there, but it did not stop us from seeing everything. The koi pond was also stunning to see. We look back on this tour fondly.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written March 1, 2024
  • stevecarrieo
    19 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Bonsai Experience
    Great place to visit whether you are into bonsai or not. The trees are amazing, living works of art. The woodwork in the buildings is excellent workmanship. There are student there that will guide you, or answer questions, if they have time, as they are working on their own trees. You are free to explore the entire area. Trees range in age, size and technique. Several trees are hundreds of years old. Quite an experience and well worth the trip.
    Visited April 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 28, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles69 reviews
Excellent
51
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9
Average
5
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2
Terrible
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Nyla S.
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023 • Solo
I was told by Mr. Kobayashi that my life will never amount to anything because I am a girl and an only child. I tried to go here for an apprenticeship program. I left after 4 days due to feeling unsafe in the program. If you go here prepare yourself for toxic culture — misogyny, inappropriate comments, and a business that puts greed above its participants feeling safe.
Written February 25, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Staffan L
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
We visited this bonsai garden/nursery and got totally blown away by all the beauty and history that was hidden here. Very friendly and knowledgeable staff showed us around and explained both the history surrounding bonsai and how it’s done today. Well worth the 45’ train and bus ride from downtown Tokyo and we spent just short of 2 hours in the garden walking around taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful trees.
Written July 24, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

travelling_bumblebee
Brisbane, Australia69 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Friends
The location is a little out of the way, but well worth the trip if you have an interest in Bonsai, Japanese culture or appreciation for centuries-old mastery. We planned to take a bus from the local train station but being Sunday they were not running very frequently so we opted for a taxi instead .

We were greeted by a bonsai apprentice from Slovenia who guided us around some of the highlights and the formal interior of the museum. I particularly enjoyed learning about the age of many of the trees, which can be over 700 years old - the oldest being around 1000 years! He was very informative and kept things brief so that we could go on to enjoy the hundreds of trees at our own pace after a complimentary drink of matcha. We were also able to purchase some books which the very friendly bonsai master Kunio Kobayashi kindly offered to sign.
Written May 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cullight
Kyoto, Japan16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Couples
If you are in Tokyo and you like gardens, you definitely must go there. It is about a 40min trip by train and bus to get there, however it is rather easy to plan and get there and absolutely worth it.
We spent there about 4h, got some nice tea and saw some terrific trees and a koi pond. It is such a lovely and peaceful place.
The museum features more than 100 trees with the oldest tree being 800 years old.
You can also buy trees there.
Since must trees are outside, better check the weather beforehand.
At the end we even got a small pot as a present!
Written June 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jerry M
Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2017
Shunkaen Bonsai Museum and Japanese Culture Experience

The founder and proprietor of the museum is Kunio Kobayashi who has been doing Bonsai for more than 30 years and holds four Japanese Prime Minister Awards and numerous other awards for his art and founded the museum to display and share the beauty of Bonsai. His museum also shares a number of Japanese cultural experiences with visitors, some of which we enjoyed this day.
We started out visit spending time in the Bonsai Garden. A wonderful display of living works of art, some dating back about 500 years. It was a pleasure to watch one artist pruning a tree as he looked over the plant and on occasion cut a small bit off with cutters no bigger than small tweezers.
My wife and I were part of a group there to experience several aspects of Japanese culture. After an hour of admiring the Bonsai presentations we removed out shoes and went inside to experience and learn of the formal Tea Ceremony. Our hostess was a very small, mature Japanese lady who had studied and practiced under a teacher’s guidance for 10 years before gaining the title of a Master of the Tea Ceremony. She has been practicing her trade for more than 40 years. As she prepares each of us our tea she presents an air of precision, humility and tranquility. Of to the side is a lady who provides a running explanation of each movement of the mater providing us a much better understanding of the ceremony. All the workers in this building are women dress in kimonos.
We move to another room which has been set up for a lesson in calligraphy. I had thought this would be a lesson/lecture class with a demonstration of the art. That did not occur, however each of us were given two brushes, India ink and paper. In Japan there are three forms of writing, kanji from Chinese writing with over 3,000 characters and two forms of phonic Japanese writing with 48 symbols each, Hiragana and Katakana. Students by the 9th grade must master and recognize all three. I now realize that all those around me and myself were senior citizens in a kindergarten setting. We were given a bag to take our calligraphy attempts home with us.
Our final introduction to Japanese culture is to see how to dress in kimonos. Three women and two men would be dressed in kimonos or Japanese traditional dress. My wife was one of the women. Women are dressed in three layers of kimonos, the outer one being very ornate and beautiful. They also were wrapped in the sash and Obi. I was selected as one of the men because I was tall. I was dressed in an under kimono, an article of clothing, Hakea, that looked like skirt from my waist to the floor and an outer kimono. We did take many pictures.
Of the many tours we have taken over the years this was at the top of the list. As we experienced each of these cultural aspects we learned of the people, history and cultural development. Our hostesses were informative, spoke excellent English and open to answer all questions. At all time we could feel their pride and love of their heritage.
I would very much recommend this experience to everyone including first timers to Japan or repeat visitors like my wife and I.
Written May 3, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Christine H
New York City, NY185 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Family
Whether you like bonsai or not, or even know what it is, if you want to understand Japan and its culture, you should visit Shunkaen Bonsai Museum.

I lived/worked in Japan for more than 7 years but had never been to the Shunkaen Bonsai Museum till I recently made a trip to Tokyo and my son expressed an interest. I was dubious but I am so happy we went.

It's a very peaceful enclave in within the confines of Tokyo. There are many, many bonsai trees, the most famous of which is a pine which is 1,000 years old... absolutely remarkable when you think of it!. There is also a house with a number of tatami rooms which are the setting for specimens which are at the height of their beauty, e.g., an azalea tree in full bloom. Although the house is only 30 years old, it is built in a very traditional style seen in much earlier days.

There is a guide (who speaks English) who will take you to the most famous specimens outside and then to each tatami room where he will explain the significance of the particular tree, its age and why the scroll next to it was chosen. After the tour is finished, everyone is invited to sit and have tea.

It's a completely relaxed environment and visitors feel quite free to sit and contemplate in the tatami rooms or at the edge of the koi pond.

Unlike many cultural attractions, this one is not crowded and very relaxed.
Written June 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anna B
Tokyo, Japan28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2015 • Couples
The bonsai museum is not that hard to find although it is located in a residential area because of the flags in front of its gate. Also, the gate is always open so one can immediately see some of the bonsai trees placed in the garden. When we visited, we were lucky because there was a Mexican apprentice who can speak English. He was very kind to tour us around and tell us about bonsai art and the Japanese principles behind. Aside from the garden, there is also a museum composed of different tea rooms. Each room has a special bonsai exhibit. There is also quite a collection of books used by Kobayashi-sensei when he was learning about bonsai. Likewise, antique tables and vases are also on display. One can also have a nice view of the garden from the windows of the museum. After the tour we went to a small resting room for some tea. Inside, books related to bonsai craft are displayed for browsing and buying.
Written March 3, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Merril B
Newcastle, Australia62 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2013 • Family
Came across this Bonsai treasure in Tokyo. It is away from the hustle and bustle and when we visited we were provided with an apprentice bonsai artist to answer questions and in show us highlights. We learnt so much from this personal tour and this place is one of my Tokyo highlights.
Written June 3, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Callie K
United States521 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Family
The bonsai experience is an hour long "lesson" on how to make a bonsai tree. You are given a tree to work on, which in our case was a small pine tree that was already several years old and had already been "worked on". There were three of us and there were three workers who worked with us so we had one on one attention. They showed us how to look at this tree, the technique to properly wire the branches, then how to shape the branches into the desired shape.
After the lesson, we got to wander around the "museum" with one of the guides. This is a working nursery. I believe the guides who worked with us were there as part of the International Apprentice program. One was from Poland, One from Italy, and one from China. It was a very interesting afternoon.

We took the subway there from our hotel and got off at the Funabori station, then took a taxi to the location, although going back the taxi took us to a station that was a bit closer. This place did not take a credit card for our 3800 yen lesson -- only cash.
Written April 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DesertDiplomat
Tokyo, Japan47 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2016 • Family
We (spouse, and two young children) visited the bonsai museum yesterday and had a lovely time. The website says you can get there via public transportation (train and bus), but with a four-year old and (almost) two-year old, we decided to drive. There are three parking spaces (maybe, four, but it's unclear if the fourth space is actually a space . . .) just outside the main entrance of the museum so driving made sense. If you drive and all the parking is full I'd recommend driving around the corner and parking at Family Mart or another convenience store.

Other reviewers have talked about guided tours, but our experience was a little different. When we first arrived we met a cadre of old men tending their bonsai not quite sure what to do with us. They handed us no brochures, no real explanation other than "walk around, and you can have tea later." They didn't even hand us a ticket. It was total fine (and, probably what I'd expect from a group of old men who are more concerned with keeping 400-year old trees alive than talking to foreign tourist), and we just walked around the place ourselves. The trees are amazing and, boy, are there a lot of them. There are many trees to see outside, and more inside. There is a small (and, unusually deep) coy fish pond with some of the biggest coy I've ever seen. The kids loved it, but be sure to hold tight to those little hands if you bring kids.

Towards the end of our visit, they invited us in for tea and one of the old men spoke (in Japanese) with us about the bonsai and suiseki (contemplation stone) collection. So, here's my overall take:

1. If you like bonsai and are willing to go slightly off the beaten path, it's totally worth it.
2. Our kids enjoyed it.
3. It's only about a 20-minute drive to IKEA, so if you're planning an IKEA run from Tokyo, I'd recommend getting to Shunkaen around 1000 when they open, snag a parking space, enjoy tea, bonsai, and suiseki, and then drive on over to IKEA for your shopping.
4. We went in late February, and still loved the bonsai, but would recommend visiting in spring or fall when the trees are either in bloom or the foliage is best.
Written February 27, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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