Bonsai trees are cultivated in various styles, each representing a distinct aesthetic and design philosophy. The choice of bonsai style depends on factors such as the species of the tree, its natural characteristics, and artistic vision.

To help demystify the art, we have compiled some of the most common bonsai styles to assist you on your development path:

  1. Formal Upright (Chokkan):
    • Straight and upright trunk.
    • Well-balanced branches radiate in a tiered pattern.
    • Apex (top of the tree) is centered above the trunk.
  2. Informal Upright (Moyogi):
    • Slightly curved or inclined trunk.
    • Irregular branching pattern for a more natural appearance.
    • Apex is not directly above the trunk.
  3. Slanting (Shakan):
    • Trunk is slanted to one side, creating a dynamic appearance.
    • Typically, the apex is shifted to the opposite side of the slant.
    • Mimics the effect of a tree leaning due to environmental factors.
  4. Cascade (Kengai):
    • Trunk cascades downward, often below the base of the pot.
    • Emulates a tree growing on a cliff or over water.
    • The apex hangs below the rim of the pot.
  5. Semi-Cascade (Han-Kengai):
    • Similar to the cascade style but with a less pronounced downward angle.
    • The apex may be above or just below the rim of the pot.
  6. Literati (Bunjin):
    • Tall, slender, and elegant style.
    • Minimal branching, often appearing windswept or weathered.
    • Emphasizes the character of an old tree in harsh conditions.
  7. Broom (Hokidachi):
    • Straight, upright trunk.
    • Branches radiate symmetrically in a broom-like pattern.
    • Apex is positioned directly above the trunk.
  8. Group or Forest (Yose-ue):
    • Multiple trees planted together to create a miniature forest.
    • Varying heights and trunk styles for a natural woodland appearance.
    • Requires careful consideration of spacing and arrangement.
  9. Multi-Trunk (Ikadabuki):
    • Several trunks emerging from a single root system.
    • Each trunk can have its own unique style and characteristics.
    • Mimics the appearance of a group of trees in a close-knit cluster.
  10. Windswept (Fukinagashi):
    • Slanted trunk and branches, as if shaped by strong winds.
    • Foliage and branches appear swept in one direction.
    • Reflects the resilience of a tree exposed to harsh weather.

These bonsai styles demonstrate the diversity and creativity in the art of cultivating miniature trees, allowing  expression of artistic vision and appreciation for nature.