Youbi Logo
A Man of Deeds in The Deep Fores
cypess forest
Keeping the forest happy by creating quality wood furniture

Nishiawakura village is located northeast of Okayama prefecture in the deep abundant mountain forest area right along the border of Tottori prefecture. 95% of the village is blessed with rich woodland supported mainly by forestry and agriculture industries. In 2009 a new project called the “Nishiawakura Village 100 Year Forest Plan”, brought fresh array for the sustainable future of the land and village. The idea is to nurture existing mountains with greater maintenance enabling consistent top quality wood supplies to create furniture for life. For this to happen, the village town hall committed to managing the entire forest in depth together with the clear aim to realize a low carbon society. The village has been officially classified as the “Environmental Model city” in Japan to lead the future of forestlands. In efforts to enhance awareness and actual usability, the town hall and village established a workshop and school concept facility called the “Nishiawakura Forest Village”.

Creating great wood furniture is what keeps the forest happy

Not long ago, there was a brave furniture craftsman who decided single handedly to move to Nishiawakura village when he learned about the “Nishiawakura 100 Year Forest Plan” in 2009, having no doubt that this was his mission to undergo for life. We managed to find the determined man, now 34, Masayuki Oshima founder of “Woodcraft Atelier Youbi”, residing in an old traditional Japanese house restored beautifully with his own hands just below the deep mountains in Nishiawakura village. How did he come to this calling? After graduating University he went to train in Takayama, Gifu prefecture as a furniture craftsman. Through his hard training and being raised by his father who was a respected carpenter, he naturally realized that his dedication to preserving Japanese cypress is how the forest can continue its precious cycle of life.

“I fell in love with this village and my role is to create the finest furniture from the mountain blessings…” as he continues expressing with enthusiasm. “I create furniture from the trees that are blessed to us and look back at the healthy mountains I supported. It’s hard work but I know I’m doing the right thing for our nature. And this is exactly the kind of environment I wanted to work and live for” speaking softly with confidence somehow making us understand that he in fact was called for from the mountain spirits. We take a deep breath and appreciate the fresh cypress aroma surrounding the atelier with tender ambience.

Masayuki Oshima (Youbi CEO) looking up at a cypress tree
wooden sypress table
Cypress furniture with design by Woodcraft Atelier Youbi

Japanese Cypress also known as Hinoki is uniquely Japanese which grows within mainland Japan from up north in Fukushima prefecture spreading down to the south end in Kagoshima, Kyushu prefecture. Hinoki was used for the making of the world’s oldest wood architecture, Horyuji Temple in Nara prefecture, which pretty much embodies Japan’s fine wood culture. Inspired by this masterpiece, Woodcraft Atelier Youbi spent almost two years studying all possible characteristics of Hinoki. They succeeded to integrate the best of Japanese, Scandinavian and American wood framing techniques to perfect their original framework and developed natural paint to give each piece a genuine finish.

Our products: