On the left half of the mural, you can see the phrase “Made in Akita” written on the wooden planks standing behind the snow cave. Akita is a region born of its forests, and as a result sawing was one of its most important industries.

The Akita cedar is famed as one of Japan’s three most beautiful trees. Cold resistant and covered in meticulous annual rings, its lumber commands a high price. However, in modern times, forestry in Akita is afflicted with a lack of supporters and price recessions. What once was a vital asset born of intense forestry labor has now become local trivia.

Building upon the current situation, designs that unlock the potential of Akita lumber are implemented at Akita Station, known as the “gateway into Akita”, as well as the Akita Station West Exit Bus Terminal.

There is a warmth to the all-cedarwood bus terminal that gives it a nostalgic quality, but its beauty is actually functional against the harsh elements, reportedly thanks to a unique preservative treatment applied to the wood.

The Akita Station premises apply cedarwood in different ways. Please lookout for the lounge which incorporates locally produced cedar, as well as the paneling along the long main hall connecting the east and west halves of the station.

Trees have long been indispensable to the Akita lifestyle. Sawing and lumber processing techniques, circular bento boxes, locally made buckets, and barrels - they remain a testament to Akita’s rare tradition of wood-crafting. On the other hand, forest overgrowth has caused many issues as a result of Akita’s reluctance to thin the forests for the sake of protecting tradition. From a standpoint of profitability and practicality, there is a lack of compromise between tradition and usability when it comes to these forests, and only by bridging that gap can new technological innovations come about. Nowadays they have strong, flame-resistant wood thanks to such innovations; if they only had the technology, they could better use the trees to further develop their community. Akita Station and the West Exit Bus Terminal represent that pioneering spirit. In these two locales, we may be witnessing the birth of a more sustainable future between man and forest.

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