UNSEEN, by ROBWalbers

Jul 7, 2018 UPDATE

KYOTO Kitayama cedar&Kyoto traditional crafts Kitayama Logging

Passing the famous Autumn leaves of Takao away from the city center of Kyoto, as soon out of the tunnel of the […]

Passing the famous Autumn leaves of Takao away from the city center of Kyoto, as soon out of the tunnel of the Suginosato (Village of the Cedars) lies Nakagawa resting by the Kyotakigawa River side.Here since ancient times you find the cedar loggings of Kitayama.Houses and wood log warehouses stand along the river, you can catch a glimpse of the tasteful scenery of the town created by the Kitayamamaruta.Contemplate the stunning landscape hiking the uphill village alleys where the Kitayama Cedars stretch straight upwards continuously against the steep slope.

Kitayama Cedar started inside the Muromachi period, between the Ouei Years (1394~1427) , peeling the cedar to process the logging and providing materials to build tea ceremony arbors and rooms for the “Chanoyuu” , the Way of Tea perfected by Rikyu (Sen no Rikyu) a culture now dating 600 years.Kitayama Cedar characteristics in particular are its heavy durable and dense material, smoothness and glossiness. The Katsura-Rikyu Imperial Villa, Shogakuin -Rikyu, Shimabara Sumiya are landmarks constructed with the Kitayama logs.Kitayama log is a traditional craft of Kyoto which makes you feel the weight of history, it received the designation of "Kyoto traditional crafts" (Kyoto Prefecture) and "Kyoto city traditional industrial products" (Kyoto City).


It is very difficult to plant and grow trees on the steep slope of Kitayama, and the seedlings were very valuable.Here, silviculture found a unique technique called “Daisugi-jitate”.From one single tree, the branches or ramus will sprout single long shoots which will be harvested and replanted to produce one single forest.This process reduces the number of afforestation, accelerates the cycle of harvesting, and produces denser wood.It is believed this technique was conceived by observing how the natural cedar tree renews the lodging in the snowy area of ​​the northern part of Kyoto.But not any cedar can be used to produce a Daisugishidate.A tree with genes that grows steadily straight ramus was necessary.It was found in one tree, the “Shirosugi”, which is found at the Nakagawa Hachimangu Shrine, where it still shoots straight branches today, after 500 years.From this single tree, you will find its secular generations covering and shaping the scenery of the Daisugi.This technology and genes are the basis of the Kitayama cedar.

Kyoto Kitayama Maruta Productive Cooperative

74 Nakagawakawanobori, Kita, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

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