Kyoto Shimbun 2014.1.17 News

Softly Sweet Aroma of Plums
"Nagahama Bonbaiten" Starts on January 18

An early spring attraction "Nagahama Bonbaiten," or the Nagahama plum tree bonsai exhibition, which heralds the arrival of early spring in the Lake Biwa area, began on January 18 at Keiunkan located near JR Nagahama Station, Minato-cho, Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture. The private viewing for tourism-related personnel was held on January 17. Although many blossoms were still in the bud stage, the purely-blooming red and white plum blossoms faintly conveyed a sweet fragrance.

The event is sponsored by Nagahama City. It has been held since 1952 when local residents donated some Bonbai pots to the city, and this year marks the 62nd exhibition. Approximately 90 out of 300 plum tree bonsai will be exhibited in the hall and sequentially rotated with other plums as they reach their peak for blossoming.

Although they are Bonbai pots, surprisingly large plum trees, including the 400 year-old "Furo" and the 2.75-meter "Sazareiwa" plum trees, are lined up. The buds on the plum trees have swollen approximately one week earlier than usual this year, and they are expected to be wholly covered with bloom in early February.

The exhibition is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. until March 10. Once the night illumination starts on February 8, the opening hours will be extended to 8:30 p.m. There is an admission fee of 500 yen for adults and 200 yen for elementary and junior high school students.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Visitors admire blooming plums in the hall filled with their sweet fragrance (January 17, Keiunkan, Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture)