Bonsai is a Japanese art form using cultivation techniques to produce, in containers, small trees that mimic the shape and scale of full size trees. Similar practices exist in other cultures, including the Chinese tradition of penzai or penjing from which the art originated, and the miniature living landscapes of Vietnamese Hòn Non Bộ. The Japanese tradition dates back over a thousand years.
Purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation for the viewer, and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity for the grower. By contrast with other plant cultivation practices, bonsai is not intended for production of food or for medicine. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees growing in a container.