The art of Japanese tree trimming, or bonsai, has its origins in China around 700 AD. The practice was adopted by the Japanese along with a number of other Chinese cultural practices during the Kamakura period between the 12th and 14th centuries AD.
The earliest reference to Bonsai in Japan dates to 1195 AD, though it is possible that the Japanese practiced the art form earlier than that. Bonsai became known in Europe and North America in the mid-19th century, after Japan opened up its ports to foreigners following years of isolation. During this period, a number of traditional Japanese arts spread to the outside world.