Hinoki (Chamaecyparis Obtusa) is native to central Japan, is similar to another species found in Taiwan, and is related to the falsely named Yellow Cedar of British Columbia. It is considered a sacred tree, Goshinboku, above all others, in Japan. It is a slow-growing tree but when allowed to prosper can reach a height of thirty-five metres and one metre in diameter at the base. The wood is lemon-scented and a light pinkish brown. The grain is straight and, more importantly for joinery, it is of a consistent density from one layer of growth to another.

Hinoki is naturally rot and insect resistant which was essential for some of the earliest forms of Japanese carpentry which feature earth-fast posts and stilt-style architecture. Hinoki wood is high-quality timber which has been reserved exclusively for use in important cultural projects such as palaces, castles, temples, shrines, Noh Theatres, traditional O-Furo bathtubs, Shoji screens, and incense. It is also grown as an ornamental tree for gardens in Japan and elsewhere and is a popular Bonsai. It is the wood used at all the important historical buildings from the Great Buddha Temple at Horyuji (607) to the majestic Osaka Castle (1583).

The masculine spirit of this divine tree is celebrated every spring in the small town of Komaki, Nagoya Prefecture, at the Honen-Sai Matsuri, or “Penis Festival”. The shrine is decorated with hundreds of wooden and stone phalli and every year a giant penis, weighing up 650 pounds, is carved from an Hinoki log and paraded through the streets. The hinoki is prepared by specialized craftsmen following a tradition that is at least 1500 years old.