Considered the Bonsai Mecca in Japan and the rest of the world, Omiya Bonsai Village is home to ten gardens that cultivate Bonsai trees. This hamlet in Saitama City houses hundreds of thousands of these tiny plants, and the community has organized itself around their treasured flora.
Bonsai is the Japanese art of growing miniature trees, using only a small pot and carefully arranged stones. This art form was brought to Japan during the Kamakura period in the 12th century and used to be exclusive to the aristocracy before being introduced to the world in the 19th century during the Meiji Restoration. The Japanese are drawn to the intricately gnarled bark and twisting shape of the trunk, which resemble mythical creatures like the dragon.
Photo courtesy of Rob Shenk