Kiso‘s beautiful forest was inherited from the feudal control of Owari Domain to the Meiji government, who incorporated it into Goryorin, a forest considered imperial property, in 1889. Opening of the agency in 1906, the Kiso branch of the Property Management Bureau of the Imperial Household Ministry was mainly based on dealings of Kiso Hinoki. Through forest railways and other projects, it also served as a base of modern management. The department was renamed to the Imperial Forestry Bureau Kiso Branch in the Taisho Period. Its office building burned down in the great fire of 1927 and reconstructed at the same place after just half a year, handing down the history of Kiso and the former dignity of the Imperial family.
Former Imperial Forestry Bureau Kiso Branch Office Building can be called an irreplaceable structure serving as an example of modern forestry administration. This is because it is composed of a wooden main building, a warehouse of reinforced concrete, and a boiler room. Furthermore, its art deco design is as an example of the style of architecture at the time. Additionally, it has rare documents, such as blueprints and tags of materials, showing that it was designed by the Bureau of Skilled Artisans of the Imperial Household Ministry which produced many great buildings in series, and that its contractor was a company in Tokyo. It is valuable as a cultural establishment which can carry the forestry culture of Kiso into the future and establish itself as an important position for the heritage of modernization in Kiso town.
The Mokuiku Room located on the first floor is a popular spot where visitors of all ages can enjoy a variety of wooden toys, such as the Hinoki House, which are made from high quality materials from the prefecture. An exhibition room on the second floor displays a diorama of Kiso valley made by Kazaemon Chigo in 1880, who was an ascetic of Ontake-ism and strived to spread its faith. It was ordered by the Kiso branch office of the Forestry Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry Ministry and exhibited at 2nd National Industrial Exhibition at Ueno, Tokyo. This massive diorama is 13 meters in circumference and represents the whole Kiso valley in 3D. It is made of natural Kiso Hinoki.
5471-1, Fukushima, Kiso, Kiso-gun, Nagano, 397-0001
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