Click to see the 2017 class schedules

Email John at to get on the Kaikou contact list.

Check out our Study Group at!

The club was started by graduates of the Kaikou School of Bonsai. Anyone in the area can join!

…and our Kaikou Bonsai Study Group Facebook Page!


About Kaikou School of Bonsai

Kaikou School of Bonsai

The Kaikou School of Bonsai is a two year program headed by John Romano that focuses on intensive bonsai study and practice. All facets of bonsai horticulture and artistic creation will be explored. Each class will focus on a specific task or concept essential to creating beautiful and healthy bonsai. Proper repotting, design, correct wiring and pruning techniques, etc will be studied. Each student will be given a basic course outline, assignments and supervision.

The Kaikou School is founded on the belief that the health of our bonsai is always the number one priority.

    Our goals are:

  • To improve our bonsai knowledge and technique
  • Respect tradition while exploring new ideas
  • Treat each other and our bonsai with respect, generosity and compassion
  • Nurture creativity through bonsai.

Students can be inexperienced beginners or seasoned bonsai practitioners (or somewhere in between). Kaikou students will register for the two years— a total of eight sessions of classes. A certificate will be awarded upon successful completion of the course.

Open to New England Bonsai members only (see website for membership information) and completion of a Basic Bonsai class or evidence of some elementary knowledge of bonsai.

Our Mission Statement

Kaikou School of Bonsai

Mission Statement By John Romano and New England Bonsai Gardens

Kaikou is a Japanese word that literally means 'unexpected encounter or crossing paths'. In this case it is a person-person or person-bonsai encounter. I like to think that our eyes are opened with wonderment when we have a surprise encounter. It is this 'wonderment' I have with bonsai that I would like to share in this school.

The Kaikou School of Bonsai intends to create an atmosphere of learning that encourages respect for bonsai, fellow students and teachers. Emphasis will be placed on developing personal skills to help advance each student to the level of accomplished bonsai artist. We will also train our senses to be in tune with the health of the trees.

I have been contemplating this sort of learning environment for a few years now and it seems the right time to initiate it. The school will run for 2 years and a certificate will be awarded to students upon completion of the classes.

My commitment as a teacher is to be open in sharing my knowledge (and limitations) with each of you. I will give you my full attention and be honest in my assessment and recommendations. Bonsai is an enjoyable activity and I will attempt to keep that atmosphere alive.

New England Bonsai Gardens is committed to providing an uplifting environment in which to study; to giving the students an unparalleled selection of trees and pots and accessories at the best possible prices and in establishing long term relationships with teachers and students alike.

From you, the student, I would expect a desire to advance your knowledge, a commitment to attend all the sessions (or make one up if you can't attend one) and an openness to learning as well as an openness to sharing your thoughts, etc. All levels of experiences are accepted— the open mind is often easier with an untrained student than with one who is well advanced.

School Gallery


2017 Class Schedule

Kaikou School of Bonsai


  • Icho Class #5, Saturday, March 18, 10am-3pm


  • Goyomatsu Class #1, Saturday, April 15, 10am-3pm


  • Icho Class #6, Saturday, May 20, 10am-3pm


  • Goyomatsu Class #2, Field Trip, Saturday, June 3 10am-3pm


  • no classes in July


  • Goyomatsu Class #3, Saturday, Aug 5, 10am-3pm
  • Icho Class #7, Saturday, Aug 26, 10am-3pm


  • Goyomatsu Class #4, Saturday, Oct 28, 10am-3pm


  • Icho Class #8, Graduation, Saturday, December 2, 10am-3pm

Kaikou Masterclass

To continue in our journey in bonsai and increase our skills and knowledge, we will offer advanced for Kaikou graduates and 2nd year students. There will be a few offered each year. Also, if we have visiting teachers from Japan (or nationally) I will try to schedule a special class as part of this.

NOTE: These will be listed with the Workshops at Please sign up there! These are not part of the Kaikou tuition so are paid for separately.

Friends and Resources

Kaikou School of Bonsai

Discussion Groups:


Artists and Professionals who have taught and visited New England Bonsai Gardens:

  • Nick Lenz,
  • Kenji Miyayta
  • Hiroshi Tsukada
  • Chase Rosade
  • Kathy Shaner
  • Walter Pall
  • Marco Invernizzi
  • Mario Komsta
  • Mistuo Matsuda
  • Marion Gyllenswan
  • Yuji Yoshimura
  • Jim Barrett
  • Colin Lewis
  • Salvatore Liporace



Japan sites:

and of course

About John Romano

John Romano of Kaikou School of Bonsai

by John Romano

My first experience with plants was at 4 years old, helping my Italian Grandfather plant seeds and later pruning apple, pear and fig trees in the garden. This was my first 'crossing path' with trees. In 1975 I started to 'play' with bonsai. It was more like creating a morgue for trees! After this first foray in futility, I stumbled upon some good books and finally found New England Bonsai Gardens (then in South Natick) and my passion was rooted. I've had many teachers over the years, in single courses and workshops, as well as more extensive learning relationships with Kenji Miyata at New England Bonsai Gardens and a short study period at Taisho en in Shizuoka, Japan with shohin bonsai master, Nobuichi Urushibata. I have been teaching bonsai classes and private students at New England Bonsai Gardens since 2000.

John Romano at work

I have written various articles in major bonsai magazines:

  • Bonsai Today, International Bonsai, ABS Bonsai, BCI Bonsai Magazine
  • Currently writing a regular column for International Bonsai Magazine on shohin bonsai called 'A Little Magic with Shohin Bonsai'
  • 3 trees exhibited in the Native American Bonsai Exhibition at the ABS Bonsai Symposium in Sarasota NY in 2006 (all published in the commemorative album)

  • 1997 Third Place finish in New England Bonsai Garden Member Show
  • 2000 JAL World Bonsai Contest (1 of 100 trees selected)
  • 2002 1st place at Royal Bonsai Garden Show (selected by Nick Lenz)
  • 2003 Best in Show and Special Award at Tower Hill Bonsai Exhibition
  • 2004 JAL World Bonsai Contest (1 of 100 trees selected)
  • 2005 Chase Rosade Excellence in Bonsai Award at International Bonsai Symposium
  • 2005 Best Shohin Bonsai in North America / Best Shohin Bonsai Overall;
  • North America vs. Europe Bonsai Photo contest.
  • 2008, 2010 Trees displayed in the 1st and 2nd US National Bonsai Exhbition

About New England Bonsai Gardens

About New England Bonsai Gardens

It is our wish to improve our lives and the lives of others by introducing and promoting the art and culture of bonsai.

We believe practicing bonsai can help people develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the natural world and of our fellow human beings. Bonsai is an art that requires patience, diligence, creativity and awareness, among other things. Bonsai can be beautiful and inspiring, so a bonsai collection and a knowledge of bonsai can enrich our lives. At New England Bonsai Gardens we would like to practice these qualities and share them with our customers. By practicing bonsai we can see how our behavior can affect a tree. If you let the soil get too dry the bonsai dries out and dies. There is a very direct consequence of our actions. If we take good care of the bonsai it will thrive, look beautiful and live longer. Bonsai is a very honest approach to life. There's nowhere to run.

In 1987 we started New England Bonsai Gardens by renting one greenhouse in South Natick, Mass, outside of Boston. Now, in our current eight acre home in Bellingham, Massachusettes, a beautiful location with eight greenhouses we are recognized as one of the nations largest, most beautiful and comprehensive bonsai nurseries. Our ties with Japan are strong. We host teachers and guests every year. We import from Japan and other Asian countries. Our roots also extend to the West Coast where we have cultivated relationships with some of the best and most experienced bonsai growers in the country.

For over 23 years we have offered the very finest in bonsai and bonsai education. We would love to have you as part of our ever expanding bonsai community, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned practitioner you are very welcome.

We cordially invite you to visit us.

Contact Us

Contact Kaikou School of Bonsai

Kaikou School of Bonsai
New England Bonsai Gardens
914 S. Main St. (Rte. 126)
Bellingham, MA 02019

Telephone (508) 883-2842
Fax: (508) 883-2862