House plants and green interiors have been getting more and more attention from the younger generation of late. For this article, I visited one of the larger bonsai areas in Japan, Kagawa Prefecture, to learn more about and to make my own kokedama (moss ball).
Sakuyakobo – Kokedama Lesson Amidst Nature
Located at the foot of the mountain in Kokubunji, Takamatsu City, which lies next to this big reservoir you can see in the photograph, the area is really quite pleasant as it is enveloped in nature.
The first and most important step to making your own kokedama is to choose the right plant. Here, they have more than 100 different kinds to choose from. According to the owner, this is the most time-consuming part of the process, as people have difficulty making up their minds. He’s right: All the plants are lovely, so I can’t seem to decide on one. The owner gives me plenty of advice and counseling on choosing the right plant: The season; whether or not the plant fits my personality; and so on. In the end, I chose a satsuki azalea. The plants here are grown using the neagari-method (with the roots exposed).
The next step is to pull up the plant and remove dirt and excess roots to make the ball underneath smaller. The smaller it is, the higher the quality, but also the more difficult it is to handle. A well-balanced sample shows a ball that is 3 times smaller than the plant.
The next step is to knead the keto soil (clay-like soil of mostly rotten vegetation) and cover the roots in it, while at the same time working the water out of the ball. It’s important to make sure there are no gaps between the roots and to make the outside even and smooth. Having a firm grip and using your thumbs ensures this.
When your ball is nice and round, the next thing to do is cover it in moss. As the moss is alive, it will grow and expand over time, but you still have to be sure to cover the entire ball right away.
The last step is to wrap the ball in cotton thread. You can choose any way of wrapping it, but as it will affect the final shape of the ball, be sure to wrap it properly. The purpose of the thread is to fix the moss and roots in place (It decomposes within about two months).
My Very Own Lovely Kokedama
The final step is watering, and then it’s done! When it’s finished, take it home, put it on a plate and use it as a decoration. Selecting the right plate is another fun part of making a kokedama.
Now it’s your turn. Come and make your own kokedama surrounded by beautiful nature.
Sakuyakobo – Kokedama lesson – Natural romance, herbs & wild plants
Address: 2553-2, Kokubunji Nii, Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture
Price: 1,000 yen
Reservation: Call Sakuyakobo directly (5 days in advance), or make a reservation through the email form on the homepage http://www.sakuyakoubou.jp
Preparation: Nothing to prepare in advance
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Megumi Yamada
Megumi Yamada Although I was born in Kagawa, after graduating high school I spent time in America, Kyoto, and East Timor, and now live in Kagawa again. I’m currently rediscovering the beauty of my hometown. I love to draw and take pictures.
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