Work in the mountain / Cutting down trees

Work in the mountain / Cutting down trees

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Before cutting down trees, loggers performed the task of yamakaki. It consisted of deciding the varieties and quantity of wood to be felled, as well as the number of workers and days that would be necessary.
In early summer, on the 88th day from the first day of spring, loggers left for the mountain and built huts. Then, they put the branches of pines or cedars and the gohei (Shinto-style strips of paper) around the root of large trees, decorated them with shimenawa (sacred rice-straw ropes), sprinkled salt on the tree, offered sacred sake and prayed for the god of the mountain before starting to cut trees.
While trees were normally slashed down with an axe or a saw (a method called motogiri), the root was sometimes burnt before cutting down large trees.



The root is burned before a large tree is cut down