The cedars on Yakushima that grow at altitudes of 500m or higher and are more than 1,000 years old are called Yakusugi. Cedar has been used throughout Japan for generations because it grows quickly and is easy to process; however, Yakusugi cedars, which grow in the nutrient-poor granite mountains, are extremely slow-growing and long-living, as shown by the density of their rings. It is also rich in oil.
It is cherished as a unique natural resource that grows in one of the few remaining virgin forests in Japan. With a circumference of 16.4 meters, the largest confirmed Yakusugi cedar is the Jomon Sugi. There are also Yakusugi named after people like Wilson’s Stump, which was named after the American botanist Ernest Henry Wilson. It is the remains of a giant Yakusugi that was cut down about 430 years ago. Another massive Yakusugi is the Daiou-sugi (lit. “great king cedar”), which is estimated to be about 3,000 years old.