Inspired by the peace and natural environment, many artists and craftspeople live and work on Yakushima. Here's a little information about the arts & crafts you can come across on the island.
The felling of Yakusugi is strictly prohibited. However, 'domaiboku' , the name given to the fallen trees and stumps of Yaku sugi found in the forests, can still be harvested and used to produce a wide range of Yaku sugi crafts.
Characteristics of Yaku sugi are its high resin content which preserves it in the damp forest for hundreds of years. It has densely packed rings and the wood is lightweight. There is a limit to the amount of domaiboku wood that can be taken from the forests and this adds great value to the works of art. As a substitue local woodworkers resort to using 'ko sugi' (the term given to young sugi). The price tag will tell you whether its real Yaku sugi or not! There are a variety of workshops around Yakushima that you can visit and see the craftspeople at work Go to the Listings Pages to find out more.
Several potters have their studios on Yakushima. Due to the plentiful supply of timber they can operate traditional wood-fired kilns. They occasionally use shells, coral and elements of the granite rock during the firing process to produce interesting glazing effects. Local souvenir and craft shops often stock their work. Check out the listings section for more information.
Yakushima craftspeople and artists are attracted to the island by its peace and inspiring natural environment. There are a few small galleries scattered around the island and some of the souvenir shops also display artists' work. Keep your eyes open as you travel around the island for their workshops and check out our listings page for information about local craft shops and individual artists. If you happen to be in Yakushima for the third Sunday in the month you could visit the Yakushima Tezukuri Ichi – the local craft market.