In amongst the Japanese terms used in bonsai, are a number to describe the bonsai size and to categorise it. While these terms are more important to showing and display of bonsai, they can be useful when discussing trees.

In reality, only a small number of these terms are used within the UK to describe bonsai size. The most commonly applied terms are Mame being tiny or bean sized, Shohin being small sized and Kifu being medium sized.

If you are looking to enter any bonsai exhibitions then the following information will help you to correctly size your bonsai.

Bonsai Classifications

Mame trees are the smallest of the size classifications.

Keshi-tsubu:  Up to 2.5cm
Shito: 2.5cm to 7.5cm

Shohin trees are classified as small and are a very popular size for group displays.

Komono:  Up to 18cm
Gafu: 13cm to 20cm
Myabi: 15cm to 25cm

Kifu or medium sized trees are probably the most popular classification.

Katade-mochi:  Up to 40cm
Chuhin: 40cm to 60cm

The largest classification is Daiza, not so easy to move around.

Omono:  80 to 120cm
Bonju: 100cm to 150cm
Imperial: Up to 200cm


Each bonsai size classification brings its own enjoyment, intrigue and challenges. They will require differing growing conditions, watering and feeding regimes, tools and maintenance. However some people find that by confining their tree collection to a particular size, that they are able to get the most out of bonsai.

For further terms and definitions, please see our glossary of bonsai terms.