A space where you feel the modern exterior and the warmth of wood
This is a museum to know everything about the Yakushima cedar trees under the theme of the forest. There are easy-to-understand displays on everything including the secrets to the longevity of the Yakushima cedars and the history behind the relationship between the forest and Man. With 2 round concrete galleries connected by a 2-story building constructed from cedar, the sound and feel of the hemlock spruce-block flooring are pleasant and unique so that the warmth of the wooden space spreads out. You will want to pay a visit to the museum before embarking on that trek through the forests of Yakushima.
The most popular display: A Jomon cedar’s Inochi-no-Eda (Branch of Life)
The largest tree on Yakushima, a Jomon cedar, can now only be seen beyond the surrounding fence on the observation deck, but in this singular museum, a huge branch that had broken off of that mighty tree in 2005 because of heavy snow known as the Inochi-no-Eda (Branch of Life) is on display and can actually be directly touched. It measures 5m in length, 1.2 tonnes in weight and is estimated to be around 1000 years old. The branch is so large that it is hard to believe that it was indeed part of a tree, but not only can you sense the size of the Jomon cedar from it, it has amassed information on the tree itself. In the Yakushima Cedar Exploration Gallery, the forests of Yakushima which have come to support a lifestyle using the giant trees for 500 years and their relationship with the people are introduced. A recreation of the flat timber delivered as annual tribute during the Edo Era and the huge chainsaw 2 meters in length whose weight can also be checked are also exhibits not to be missed. In addition, there is a video area where you can view the seasonal vistas of Yakushima and traditional culture, and also a theater room which presents valuable footage of the transportation of the cedars by amazing trucks. There are also popular exhibits for the kids including stuffed dolls of baby animals residing on the island, puzzles made from various trees, and an area where they can guess the age of a tree by counting the rings via a magnifying glass. In the museum shop, there is original literature which easily describes the characteristics of a Yakushima cedar tree, posters, and other goods which can only be found at this museum.