OWASE WOODWORKS
 

- Quality Japanese Timber -

 

 
 

Owase timber comes from the lush mountains that cradle Owase Bay in Mie Prefecture. Predominantly Hinoki (Japanese Cypress) and Sugi (Japanese Cedar), these timbers are prized for their durability, lustre, aroma, and the feeling of closeness to nature they can bring into any space.

At Owase Woodworks, we select the best local trees, then process and dry the timber using knowledge passed down through generations.

Our raw timber materials are suitable for a wide range of purposes, from restaurants to retail stores to homes.

 
 
I have a cedar table, and when I come home my house is filled with the aroma. I can feel the earth... it’s immediately relaxing, and I feel more connected.
— Taro Yokoyama
 
 

HOW TO BUY OWASE WOOD


Our raw timber materials can be cut to suit your specific needs, and will be personally delivered to ensure its prime condition. Contact us about your project details, and Taro will discuss timber suitability, dimensions, quantities, timeframes, prices and delivery.

 
 


OUR WOOD


 
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ヒノキHinoki

Japanese Cypress

ヒノキHINOKI
Japanese cypress

Hinoki has been used for centuries in Japan for palaces, shrines, temples, homes, furniture, onsen baths, masu (rice measuring cups) and incense sticks. Its strength, rot-resistance and dimensional stability make it ideal for building frames - Hinoki structures over 1000 years ago still stand today, withstanding time and earthquakes. The wood’s elegant appearance and exotic lemony aroma makes also it popular for interior design, furniture and daily products.

Owase Hinoki regarded as one of the three precious planted forests of Japan. The soil conditions of the mountains where the hinoki forests flourish in Owase is rocky, meaning the trees grow slowly, creating a stable, strong wood.

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スギSugi

Japanese Cedar


すぎSUGI
JAPANESE CEDAR

All trees tell a story, reflected in their rings of age that layer as time passes. The distinct contrast between the reddish-brown inner heartwood and straw-coloured outer sapwood of cedar is enhanced in Owase timber by the rich mineral components of the region’s soil.

Sugi has a straight grain with a moderate sheen, keeps interiors warm in winter, and is remarkably weather-resistent. It is able to be worked with hand or machine tools, and glues, stains and finishes well, and has a distinct, lingering, cedar-like scent. The uses for sugi are many and varied - siding, panelling, indoor and outdoor furniture, utensils and more.

OUR STORY

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A fresh harvest

Owase Woodworks is a team four young men passionate about wood - Owase wood. Three of us (Yoshida, Tanaka, Tamon) are lumberers who come from a long line of Owase lumberers, and one (Taro) is Tokyo-based chef and our team manager, who is working to create connections between Owase wood and the rest of Japan.

We want to bring a fresh approach to a lumbering, one that combines sustainability, passion, and respect, and that creates a community around wood. Twice in 2018, we held wine bar events for the public in our sawmill in Owase, welcoming locals as well as guests from Tokyo to France.

By helping to incorporate wood into everyday human spaces, want create bonds not only between people and timber, but between people and trees.

 
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KEEPING TRADITIONS ALIVE


In 1624, the first Hinoki trees were planted in Owase. The trees flourished - so much so, it’s necessary to keep their numbers in balance through harvesting. For hundreds of years, timber was an important part of Owase industry. A generation ago, there were about 50 lumber companies - now there are just seven. We want to continue the legacy and keep the industry alive, to benefit both the local ecosystem and customers.

 
 

SUPPORTING THE ECOSYSTEM


Our role as lumberers in Owase extends beyond being wood suppliers — we’re helping to support Owase’s natural ecosystem.

The dense forest of the mountains around Owase Bay leech rich minerals into the soil. These minerals are transported by the heavy rainfall of the region into the bay, giving the water the superpowers it has to produces the high-quality and incredibly diverse seafood (over 200 varieties) Owase is famous for. The numbers of the Hinoki and Sugi trees must be maintained to allow biodiversity of the forests, and balance of minerals in the soil.

 
 

ALL-NATURAL


At Owase Woodworks, we dry all our wood naturally, whereas industrial sawmills may use artificial heating to speed up the process. Although natural drying takes much longer, the end result is wood that retains its original colour, fragrance and lustre - the characteristics that make it special.

 
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MEET THE TEAM

 

 
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𠮷田侑生 

母方の祖父が営む楠丑材木店で、25歳から働き始めた吉田侑生さん。長く続いた製材業を止めてしまうのはもったいないと、それまでは違った分野に勤めていたが、一転して材木の世界へ。価格も底を付いた時期であったため、「よお、入ってきたな」と周囲にはいわれたそうだ。かつては尾鷲に40軒ほどあった製材所も今や6軒。そんな林業が低迷する時代に仕事を始めたからこそ、侑生さんは動じない。「一本ものの需要がなくなったなら違うカタチで売ればいい。捨てられるかもしれない板も、買う人によって価値がつく」とフレキシブルに考える。尾鷲ヒノキは柔らかくて家具には不向きとされてきたが、知人の家具作家とともに「キズがついてもそれをアジにして、ヴィンテージ感覚のいいのができたんですよ」と新しい可能性を探っている。「木は廃れていかん、考え方次第で残っていける。力合わせてやっていかないと」と、木でつながる関係も大切にする。

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田中俊輔

幼い頃、ドラマで聞いた「尾鷲ヒノキ」という言葉に、父親の仕事を意識するようになった田中俊輔さん。曾祖父と祖父は木挽き職人、機械化が始まり祖父がはじめた製材業・田中木材店を継いでいる。修業時期は、原木から製品まで木の全てが集まる松阪木材で過ごしたが「『役物』と呼ぶいい材が集まるので、木の質を知れたこともよかったし、何より全国から買い手が訪れ、ネットワークもできました」と2年間を振り返る。山から消費者にわたるまで、材木には育てる、運ぶ、加工と専門の職があるが、今や関連産業は減少。「運送会社も減って、注文があっても届けられなかったり。軽トラで自分で行けるとこまでは行くんですが」と俊輔さん。高齢化の波に悩まされる中、全体での底上げに取り組み、伝統工芸・尾鷲わっぱなど、尾鷲ヒノキに携わるものが一体となってFSCの認定を受けている。年の離れた人との交流も田舎の強みと、さまざまにトライする。.

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TAMON KUSU

物心ついた頃から、祖父に山に連れて行かれたり。製材工場で遊び。日常が木に囲まれていた。大きくなって周りからは木材業界に入る事は反対されながらも、林業学校を出て、他社にも修行に行き、各地の木材と触れた中「やっぱり尾鷲の木はよいなぁ」と思うようになる。沢山の人に尾鷲の木の良さを知ってもらいたいと、色んな角度からの木材流通を試みて励んでいます。これからを担うニューヤングに期待です。

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TARO YOKOYAMA

人・自然・地域・都市が共 生する世界は豊かなものだという信念のもと、「食」を軸に、そういった世界を伝えていく、実 現していくべく活動している。生産者・消費者がお互いの世界を理解し、つながること、人々 が五感を使ってその土地の自然環境感じることで、双方の信頼関係を築き、結びつきを深め、 自然環境や食に取り巻く環境を持続可能なものにしようと努める。自身で生産地に足を運んだ り、料理の勉強にも励む中、地域の食材を使った ポップアップレストラン「Rotable」 をスタート

 

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LOCATION

南浦三重県尾鷲市南浦

1675, Minamiura, Owase
Mie Prefecture, 519-3600

CONTACT

+81-80-4300-0434
owasewoodworks@gmail.com

 
 
 
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