About Yuki Nara, Founder

Brief Biography

Photo courtesy of Mark Costantini ,San Francisco ChronicleYuki Nara is an Aesthetic Pruner who was born in Japan. She studied with Dennis Makishima who was the first to introduce the art of Aesthetic Pruning to the United States. Yuki has been an Aesthetic Pruning instructor for all levels from beginner to professional. Aside from teaching, she has also been a lecturer at various symposiums and seminars on the subject of Aesthetic Pruning. She presently teaches at Merritt College in Oakland, California.

Yuki’s work is highly intuitive and her teaching style is open hearted.  She believes that the integration of philosophy, technique, and a heartfelt connection to the spirit of a tree is essential to the successful practice of Aesthetic Pruning and ultimate satisfaction of client, pruner, and tree.


Detailed Biography

Yuki was born in Yonezawa, Japan where she was greatly influenced by her family’s deep sense of aesthetic appreciation.  As a child, Yuki was exposed to Japanese landscape aesthetics and its extensive use of native Japanese maple trees through frequent visits to traditional Japanese gardens for ceremonial occasions with her family. She later became immersed in tea ceremony and calligraphy before attending University in Tokyo where she explored Japanese art history and philosophy and its place within world art history. Her upbringing has allowed her to bring a unique sensibility to teaching the art of Aesthetic Pruning.

After Yuki spent 3 years attending a wide variety of courses in horticulture at Merritt College in Oakland California, she met and began studying Aesthetic Pruning and Bonsai with Dennis Makishima.   Ever since she was a child, she had always felt a special relationship with trees.  Therefore, her apprenticeship with Dennis immeasurably inspired, informed and deepened her connection and love for trees.

Yuki has worked as an aesthetic pruner throughout Northern California, providing services to large estates, institutions, residential and commercial clients independently and in collaboration with various landscape architects from the San Francisco Bay Area and Japan. Yuki also worked on numerous pruning projects with the Merritt College Pruning Club.

Yuki currently co-teaches the Aesthetic Pruning hands-on sessions with Michael Alliger at Merritt College.

Her frequent visits back to the mature native gardens and master gardeners of Japan have helped to freshen and clarify her insight into aesthetic pruning.   Her hope is to bring this experience to the U.S. to share with her students, clients and colleagues through her teachings and this website www.wayofmaple.com.


Yuki, the Dancer and Musician

The Dancer
Aside from her love of the Japanese Maple, Yuki has many other interests. She is an accomplished Classical Indian Odissi Dancer and member of the Pallavi Dance Group of the San Francisco Bay Area. Yuki studies Odissi with Asako Takami, and also studied with Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Manoranjan Pradhan. Yuki sees Odissi dance as a path of spiritual growth and an essence of uniting with divinity.  In October 2004, The Target® Tuesday Program and The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco sponsored “Odissi Dance with Yuki Nara”.

The Musician
Yuki is also an accomplished musician who has been playing bass guitar for over 15 years in several different Japanese and Bay Area World Beat ensembles.


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Learn about Aesthetic Pruning at Way of Maple