Nearai refers to a technique of removing all the soil from the roots of the plant during repotting, and displaying them on a flat surface. The purpose of this technique is to show the beauty and intricacy of the roots, which can be washed to enhance their appearance. Nearai can be applied to single plants or mixed plantings, and it is considered a form of accent plant that complements the main bonsai display.
According to the website Kusamono Gardens, nearai refers to "a single plant or mixed plantings that have been grown in pots and when the pot is full of roots it is removed and displayed on a flat container. The purpose of this form is to show the roots which can be washed to expose them for a more dramatic effect." Nearai originated from the nearai bonsai method, which is an ancient art form that involves growing plants so compactly that they form a tight ball of roots and soil when removed from the pot. Nearai is different from kokedama, which is another Japanese term that means "moss ball" and involves wrapping the root ball in moss and suspending it from a string or placing it on a tray.