Cul de Sac - Aomori HIBA

It feels like five senses are stimulated in the forests. Awaking your wild instinct.
Natural materials open up the possibility for your relaxation experience.

Aomori Hiba is a native Japanese tree and one of the three most beautiful indigenous trees including Kiso Hinoki (Nagano) and Akita Sugi (Akita). Aomori Hiba, the symbol of Aomori prefecture, is widely grown in Shimokita and Tsugaru Peninsulas. The number of this Aomori Hiba is 3 times more than the Kiso Hinoki and 7 times more than the Akita Sugi. Thus, it will supply stable as a building material in the future. Although this Aomori Hiba takes a long time to mature, it is still beautifully preserved. One of the reason is that the forest has been strictly protected by the government since the Edo period. So, which means the felling of Hiba by the Tsugaru-Nambu clan has to be decided by the head of each clan. They have even drawn up regulations and have prohibited entering a mountain area after felling. In recent years, trimming and planting has been implemented regularly from a preservation perspective, and Hiba is supplied according to a certain plan.

Hiba is nurtured slowly under the severe snowy wind in the North of Japan. It actually takes three times longer than that of Sugi. However, Hiba matures into a fine-grained wood beautifully and sophisticatedly. Aomori Hiba is historically used to build Japanese shrines and Buddhist temples because of its function, corrosion-inhibiting composition, industrial strength, antibacterial, and insect repelling traits. In comparison to Hinoki, Ginkyo, or other trees, Aomori His is resistant to water and has an amazing antibacterial effect on a mould and bacteria, and it repels termites. It contains two ingredients, Hinokitiol and β-Dolabrin, both of which have antibacterial, insect repelling, deodorising, and ataractic effect. Aomori Hiba is the only tree which has these two ingredients in Japan and it is distinctive throughout the world.

Building material for shrines and temples come from the first class wood which is over 200 years old, and are thick and straight. But we also use cuttings that are not straight and not usable for building materials. Our aim is to create organic products which make you feel close to nature.

We mainly produce our products in my family timber factory which has been running since my grandfather’s generation in the north of Shimokita Peninsula. The factory is located in a village on the northern tip of Honshu, and now produces only the Aomori Hiba products. We use cuttings as fuel to dry wood and think how to effectively utilise cuttings and scraps from the lumber process to create our products. For instance, we made a dehumidifying and deodorant agent from compressed powdered Hiba. We can generate a wild and unique design product making use of branches which can’t used for building materials.

Text by Mineko Muraguchi, from the website of Cul de Sac LLC.