Human beings are naturally inclined towards beauty, so it’s no wonder that bonsai trees have endured in popularity. These tiny trees require careful attention and dedication to grow and thrive, making it a cultural art form in the place it originated, Japan. Since typical trees grow large and tall, bonsai experts have wielded unique strategies, grafting, and plans to craft these miniature trees that thrive in a small pot. 

Bonsai trees receive their value according to their age, but there are a few bonsai trees in the world that command high prices because of their incredible age. Here are five of the rarest and most expensive bonsai trees in the world:

1. Shunka-en Bonsai

Located in the Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo, Japan, this bonsai tree is owned by Kunio Kobayashi, one of the most revered and celebrated Bonsai artists to have ever existed. This tree is around 800 years old, making it one of the oldest trees. It is also said to be the rarest and most valuable bonsai tree in the world.

2. Ficus Bonsai

While an 800-year-old bonsai tree would shock you, even older bonsais exist. The Ficus Retusa Linn bonsai tree is over 1000 years old and is currently on display in the Crespi Bonsai Museum in Milan, Italy. The museum’s owner has said that the bonsai came from China, and he acquired the miniature tree in 1986. Five years later, in 1991, he decided to exhibit it in his museum.

Although this bonsai is incredibly valuable, it is not for sale. Still, its beauty has made it one of the most captivating variants around, making it priceless.

3. Sandai Shogun no Matsu

The Sandai Shogun no Matsu bonsai is a five-needle pine tree with a breathtaking shape and structure. At 500 years old, it’s also one of the oldest and rarest bonsai trees around, having been looked after by Japanese emperors of yore. It is currently exhibited in the Tokyo Imperial Palace of Japan.

The bonsai gets its name from Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, who obtained the tree when it was 200 years old. Iemitsu was the third shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty and ruled Japan from 1623 to 1651. Given his time in history, the bonsai tree witnessed several critical historical events that add to its allure.

4. The Old Juniper Bonsai Tree at Mansei-en

This tree joins the Ficus Retusa Linn as one of the oldest trees around, as it is also over 1000 years old. It is currently at the Mansei-en Bonsai nursery run by the Kato family in Omiya, Japan. It is said that the Kato family acquired this tree after it was found in a forest in Japan, after which they began nursing it.

Generally speaking, juniper bonsais are incredibly valuable. A 250-year-old juniper bonsai tree sold for around $2 million in 1981, making it one of the most expensive bonsai trees of its time.

5. Shimpaku Juniper

The Shimpaku Juniper is the youngest bonsai tree on this list at 400 years old. Still, its beauty is nothing to scoff at: the one in question was carefully cultivated by Fuyumi and Seiji Iimura, who have their own bonsai tree garden. Unfortunately, the tree was stolen from the couple, along with six other trees. All trees are valued at around $118,000, with the Shimpaku Juniper alone costing $91,000. 

The tree needs extra care and attention as it cannot live more than a week without water. However, with proper care, the tree can last for thousands of years.


Bonsais are beautiful, miniature pieces of nature that thrive under special care, making it a true art form. As an ancient practice, it has yielded many stunning trees that have survived the test of time. By getting your hands on a bonsai starter kit and cultivating one yourself, your bonsai may end up on a list like this one day!

The Bonsai Shop sells bonsai starter kits, tools, pots, and accessories for people who want to explore the art of growing bonsai trees. Anyone can cultivate their own bonsai tree with the right tools and guidance, and you can get everything you need from our website. Start your bonsai tree journey today by browsing our products!