Kitayama sugi (北山杉)

Kitayama sugi is a Japanese cedar that grows in the northern area of Kyoto City. It was treated as valuable building material for tea rooms and sukiya, a tea ceremony house, as polished logs since the Muromachi period. Kitayama region, located approximately 20 km northwest of downtown Kyoto, which is currently the area around Nakagawa, Kita Ward, Kyoto City, was a prosperous source of Kitayama sugi. The Nakagawa area was positioned as "Kugonin," who presented products to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, together with the neighboring Ono-sho (present day Ono-go, Kita Ward, Kyoto City) and Umegabatake-sho (present day Takao, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City), and have produced and sold polished logs and similar materials since ancient times. In the Muromachi period, the polished logs produced in the Nakagawa region came to be frequently used as building material for a tea rooms and sukiya, which support the "chano yu" culture completed by SEN no Rikyu. Katsura Imperial Villa and Shugakuin Imperial Villa are good examples. It is said that polished logs produced in the Nakagawa region had been sold not only in Kyoto City, but also all around the Kansai area from the Edo period to the Meiji era. The demand for polished logs produced in the Nakagawa area peaked when the spectacular modern sukiya buildings designed by famous architects including Isoya YOSHIDA and Kazuo SHINOHARA had emerged after World War II. Taking advantage of the boom in modern sukiya buildings, the plantation of cedar for polished logs was spread to Keihoku-cho, Yagi-cho, and Hiyoshi-cho of Kyoto Prefecture around that time. Against this background, the logs produced in the Nakagawa area and Takao, Takaga-mine, and Ono-go are called "Jiyama maruta," which means locally produced logs, and those from Keihoku-cho and other towns are called "Tanba-mono," called Tanba products.