More and more people are becoming interested in growing bonsai, which began in China and was perfected as a Japanese art form. According to the principles of feng shui, this type of tree represents natural balance. Furthermore, adding this to your house is said to increase the flow of positive energy in your home, making many homeowners encouraged to look for bonsai for sale from online or physical stores and get started in growing their own bonsai trees.

If you are a new bonsai enthusiast, you might have encountered Japanese bonsai terms. These words are used to describe distinct features, characteristics, or other aspects that are related to bonsai or a specific bonsai tree, and oftentimes, there are no equivalent singular English words for them since they contain deep meanings that can be complicated to convey.

By learning some of these Japanese bonsai terms, you can learn more about growing bonsai, exploring this art form, and talking about your bonsai tree. Here are some of the commonly used Japanese bonsai words that you should know:

1. Mochikomi

In simpler terms, Mochikomi refers to the length of time in years that your bonsai has been grown in a container. However, it means more than that. Since your bonsai tree that has been cultivated for so many years in a container has controlled and slow growth, it exudes a sense of sophistication and elegance. As a result, the trunks and branches of your bonsai evoke uniqueness and ‘wabi-sabi’, which is a Japanese aesthetic that finds beauty in imperfection.

2. Jidai

Jidai refers to the age in Japanese. But in the world of bonsai trees, this term means an outdated look and shape of the trunk or the bark of the trunk of an aged tree. In other words, it refers to the pure finesse and subtlety of trees that have a rich history.

3. Nebari

Nebari is the Japanese bonsai term for the surface roots or all the roots of your bonsai tree that are exposed to air or visible above the surface of moss. On the other hand, happonebari, which is a related term to nebari, refers to roots that extend in all directions. This involves layering to create a stable and visually appealing appearance for your bonsai.

4. Hone

In Japanese, hone means bones. But when used in the context of bonsai, this is used to describe the basic framework of your bonsai tree. This refers to the core elements of your that cannot easily be changed, including the main branches, the trunk, and the exposed surface roots. These elements are what make your bonsai one-of-a-kind and what sets it apart from other trees.


Venturing in the world of bonsai and exploring bonsai kits can be exciting as this is a beautiful art form with a colourful history. It is normal to get confused or overwhelmed at first, most especially if you are new to this and you just discovered the many Japanese terms that are related to bonsai. By learning the mentioned words above, you will be able to appreciate bonsai even better and fall in love even deeper with this art form.

Interested in growing bonsai in Australia on your own? We have bonsai starter kits, pots, tools, and accessories here at Bonsai Shop! Place your order today!