Forestry in Japan is said to have begun around 600 years ago, and certain areas have been famous for their lumber production since long ago. Many famous brands of Japanese wood bear the names of the areas where they are grown, such as Yoshino Cedar, Tenryu Cedar, and Hita Cedar. Furthermore, a vast number of conifers were planted throughout Japan as a result of a national policy in the 1950s, to the extent that planted forests accounted for 40% of all of the forests in the country. Those forest resources are currently coming to maturity, and the trees planted by humans 50 to 60 years ago are being put to use. Among all these trees, however, there are two species that are particularly common, and are widely used in Japanese life:
This is the most common species of timber tree in Japan, accounting for around 40% of all planted forest land in Japan. It is easy to process as it splits in a straight line, and its lightness, softness, and warmth make it a popular choice for flooring. It is also the most popular variety of wood for use in construction, but the dense, reddish part composed of heartwood in particular are widely used for the creation of food containers such as barrels and buckets thanks to its durability and rich aroma. Famous brands included Yoshino Cedar, Tenryu Cedar, Hita Cedar, Kitayama Cedar, and Nagara Cedar.
This species, with its whiteness and prominent aroma, is widely used in the construction of Japanese temples and shrines. Horyu-ji, one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world and one of Japan's most celebrated temples, was also built with Japanese cypress, and the fact that its beauty has stood the test of time over more than a thousand years is testament to its great durability. The fragrance released by Japanese cypress contains compounds named Hinokitiol and Phytoncides, which are thought to have relaxing and emotionally stabilizing effects. These compounds also help fight wood-destroying fungi, suppress the development of mites, and help maintain a sanitary indoor environment. Famous brands include Kiso Cypress and Tono Cypress.