Nagahama and Bonsai Aged Hundreds of Years

Anh Nguyen
February 26, 2014

Last Sunday IES took us on a day trip to Nagahama, a city in the Shiga Prefecture of Japan just one hour away from Nagoya by bus. Having taken off at around 9 am, we made our first stop at Nagahama’s Hokkoku pottery studio. I tried making a bowl for the first time. Hopefully when the studio sends the bowls back to us I will have something good enough to drink tea with!

After the pottery studio the plan was to take a ferry across Biwa Lake, however due to strong winds the ferry could not operate. Thanks to that however, we got to visit a lot of cool places in Nagahama! I was most impressed with Keiunkan, a traditional Japanese house where extremely old and beautiful Bonbai (Plum Tree Bonsai) were displayed. Some of the trees were over 400 years old! I had a vague idea of what bonsai was before, but only then was I able to appreciate them properly.

Before stepping into the house, we feasted our eyes on the traditional Japanese garden, which put me into a calmer mood before even looking at the main attraction. The house itself was quite crowded, but everything was orderly. Traditional Japanese music was played throughout, and the few exclamations here and there about the colors of some of the flowers or the shapes of the Bonbai put me into a really good mood – not only am I surrounded by the beautiful Bonbai, but by somewhat like-minded people who appreciate them, too!

We concluded our journey through the two-story house with green tea and plum-flavored sweets. I’m not sure what we missed by not being able to take the ferry through Biwa Lake, but I am so glad it happened because we were able to have a lovely one hour in the Keiunkan instead.

Anh Nguyen

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Anh hailed from Hanoi, Vietnam and is currently a sophomore at Haverford College, Pennsylvania. She plans to major in Computer Science, but decided to take a non-CompSci semester abroad before coming back to it in her junior year (after all, when else will she get the chance?). In her free time she enjoys reading, exploring new places and new types of food, people-watching, as well as reading food blogs, planning to make every single dish that catches her eye, and then completely forgetting about them. She is as excited to blog about her journey as she is about her Spring semester in Nagoya!</span></div>

2014 Spring
Home University:
Haverford College
Computer Science
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