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The Oldest Bonsai Tree in the World

The Oldest Bonsai Tree in the World

A beautiful bonsai or dwarf tree in a shallow pot is a tree that is cared for and shaped by spending a lot of time and energy, extra care is needed to get a proportional bonsai shape and create the highest aesthetic beauty.

Caring for bonsai trees is much different from other plants, it requires precision, patience, and consistency when caring for bonsai. Several types of trees must be cared for carefully so they can grow in shallow pots, for example, Japanese Maple and Chinese Quince.

There are no restrictions in the art of bonsai, which means that the model or shape is free to make whatever the owner wishes. What makes it called bonsai is that the tree which is the main object must be planted in a pot.

Some bonsai have been made for hundreds of years. Bonsai, which has reached the age of this century, has certainly attracted world attention.

What are the oldest bonsai in the world? Below are some of the oldest bonsai in the world whose age and whereabouts have been identified.

The Oldest Bonsai Tree in the World


1. Chabo-hiba Cypress

Chabo-hiba Cypress

Age: 224 Years
Species: Cypresses
Location: Harvard University, United States
Owner: Arnold Arboretum

Chabo-hiba Cypress is in the Larz Anderson collection at the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University. Anderson, who served as ambassador to Japan, brought a collection of bonsai trees to the US in 1913. After his death, his wife, Isabel Anderson, donated 30 bonsai to the Arnold Arboretum. After Isabel died, the remainder was added to the Arnold Arboretum collection in 1949.

The most impressive of all Larz Anderson’s bonsai is the Chabo-hiba (Hinoki Cypress), which is 224 years old. This tree is one of the oldest living bonsai trees.

2. Yamaki Pine

Yamaki Pine

Age: 400 Years
Species: Pine
Location: US National Arboretum, United States
Owner: US National Arboretum

In the last two decades, Yamaki Pine has become one of the most famous bonsai trees in the world because of its history which was revealed in 2001.

The Yamaki Pine Bonsai is a type of Japanese White Pine tree (Pinus parviflora) that is now in the US National Arboretum. This bonsai tree was donated to the United States by Masaru Yamaki in 1976 as a gift for the 31st anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II.

Previously, the US National Arboretum did not know the history of this bonsai tree until Yamaki’s two grandchildren came to examine the tree in 2001.

Yamaki’s grandchildren give the museum the true story about the Yamaki Pine and reveal that they have footage taken in Yamaki’s garden, where after the bomb explosion the bonsai tree was unharmed.

3. Sandai Shogun no Matsu

Sandai Shogun no Matsu

Age: 500 Years
Species: Pine
Location: Tokyo Imperial Palace, Japan
Owner: Tokyo Imperial Palace

Sandai Shogun no Matsu is one of Japan’s treasures. The Sandai Shogun no Matsu bonsai is thought to be more than 500 years old and was named by Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu.

Iemitsu owned this bonsai tree when it was around 200 years old and since then, this bonsai has been passed down from emperor to emperor.

The Sandai Shogun no Matsu bonsai has been cared for by Japanese emperors for more than 500 years and today, the Sandai Shogun no Matsu is exhibited in the collection of the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

4. Red Pine Akao Herb and Rose Garden

Red Pine Akao Herb and Rose Garden

Age: 600 Years
Species: Pine
Location: Akao Herb and Rose Garden, Japan
Owner: Akao Herb and Rose Garden

Red pine bonsai (Pinus densiflora) is located at the Akao Herb and Rose Garden in Atami, Japan. This bonsai is not only one of the oldest bonsai trees but is believed to be the largest bonsai in the world. Its age is estimated to be more than 600 years.

Its size looks unusual for it to be called a bonsai, but this red pine still qualifies to be called a bonsai because it is technically still grown in a pot.

Because this Bonsai is large, supports and various tools must be added so that the tree does not fall when blown by the wind.

5. Kunio Kobayashi Bonsai

Kunio Kobayashi Bonsai

Age: 800 Years
Species: Juniperus
Location: Shunkaen Bonsai Museum, Japan
Owner: Kunio Kobayashi

The Shunkaen Bonsai Museum, owned and managed by bonsai master Kunio Kobayashi, is home to two of the oldest bonsai trees in the world, both estimated to be over 800 years old.

Kunio Kobayashi is a bonsai masterpiece that is well-known throughout the world, especially in the world of bonsai art.

In 2002, Kobayashi opened the Shunkaen Bonsai Museum to help spread Japanese culture, especially the art of bonsai, and exhibit works done by him and his students.

6. Hiryu


Age: 1,000 Years
Species: Juniperus
Location: Mansei-en, Japan
Owner: Kato

This bonsai tree, which is more than 1,000 years old, is located in the Mansei-en bonsai nursery owned by the Kato family. In Japan, this bonsai is known as Hiryu.

This tree has been tested and confirmed to be more than 1,000 years old.

Mansei-en is one of six famous bonsai gardens in Japan that make up the Omiya Bonsai Village.

The Kato family has owned Hiryu bonsai since the 19th century and officially opened its bonsai garden to the public in 1925.

Mansei-en Gardens is also home to the world’s oldest bonsai trees, including the 700-year-old Shimpaku Juniper.

7. Crespi Ficus

Crespi Ficus

Age: 1,000 Years
Location: Crespi Bonsai Museum, Italy
Species: Ficus
Owner: Crespi Bonsai, Italy

Crespi Ficus (a type of fig tree from the genus Ficus) is in the Crespi Bonsai Museum, Italy. This tree is the oldest bonsai in the world, more than 1,000 years old.

Luigi Crespi, founder of the Crespi Bonsai Museum spent ten years gaining ownership of this bonsai tree and he managed to get it in 1986.

The tree was previously cared for and shaped by Chinese rulers and during its first years in Italy, the Ficus Bonsai was cared for by the Japanese bonsai master, Shotaro Kawahara.

After being declared able to grow in a glass room in the Italian climate, Luigi Crespi and Alberto Lavazza continue to care for it until now.

8. Toryu no Mai

Toryu no Mai

Age: 1,000 Years
Location: Kimura Garden, Saitama, Japan
Species: Juniperus
Owner: Masahiko Kimura

A famous work considered a Japanese national treasure is called Toryu no mai (登龍の舞) by artist Masahiko Kimura. The tree is estimated to be around 1,000 years old and once won the Japanese Prime Minister’s Award. At that time, the person serving as Prime Minister of Japan was Mr. Takeshita Noboru.

9. Fujin


Age: 1,000 Years
Location: Nagano, Japan
Species: Juniperus
Owner: Tadashi Iura

This amazing bonsai is named Fujin which means “Wind God”. It has a smoky and mysterious feel. The original creator of this bonsai in the past was Mr. Kawabi, but then Mr. Tadashi Iura bought this tree and grafted Itoigawa leaves and replaced all the original leaves.

This Fujin bonsai once won the prestigious Japanese Prime Minister’s award at the Sakafu-ten exhibition.

Although it is not known exactly how old this tree is, it is estimated that it is more than 1,000 years old considering that the base of the trunk is two feet wide!

This is the oldest and most popular series of bonsai in the world. If you are planning to make a bonsai, don’t forget to read our previous List of Wild Tree Names That Can Be Used as Bonsai and Examples and How to Maintain a Bonsai Tree.

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