After leaving Kimura's, we loaded on to our bus and took off for another bonsai garden. You made think that by this time, the non-bonsai part of the group might be groaning (and maybe some were, but I never heard them), but most of us were interested because each nursery and each master were so very different. We were not disappointed.
When we first arrived at Nikko's nursery, I thought we were in the wrong place. Then I realized there was a luncheon set out on some picnic tables in a shelter. Then I thought we had stopped for lunch before traveling on to Nikko's. Again I was wrong. I never did meet the master who was in his studio which was in such an out of the way place that I didn't know until after we left that it was even there.
To be the glory of this part of our trip was seeing a primarily wild, mountainous section of Japan. So I spent the majority of my time taking photographs of the natural beauty around us.
The first photo was taken through the bus window as we left Kimura's nursery. I love the layers: the trees, houses, forest, and mountains. Since their mountains are formed by shifting tectonic plates, their shape is different from the mountains around us.
The ride was up the side of mountains, on very narrow, steep, winding roads (much like Italy). So when you see mountains in my photos, you must realize that we were already pretty high up! The first picture of the mountains will give you an idea of how the tectonic plates have risen up and seem to be leaning against each other. However, at the time, I was fascinated by the great swaths of evergreen trees that when seen from a distance appear to be shadows on the mountains giving them even more interesting shapes.
As you can see, the flowering trees and bushes were not as far along in this cooler part of the countryside, but their wispiness made them seem to float above the ground.
And oh, my, there was a stream racing its way down the mountain gurgling merrily as it went.
A section with a little water fall seen through the trees.
Spent cherry blossoms on the walkway.
A series of mini water falls with beautiful still water below them (the color was truly as teal as it is in the photo).
On a branch of the path I had followed by the stream was this sudden and completely unexpected menagerie! I found out today that the building behind the animals was the studio. I was so entranced by the elephant et al that never noticed the structure.
Then on the way back up along a different path, my view was different.
These bulbs for these daffodils and tulips were scattered on the hillside to give the appearance of a wild garden. And it works!
In this next photo, I think you can see what I mean about the evergreens appearing to be a deep shadow on that distant hill.
And I did manage to see a few bonsai. The one (trident maple, I think) below has a magnificent trunk.
Hillside and bonsai!
And I'll end with a familiar and always pretty rhododendron.