A mobile hut made solely of Japanese cypress can be installed on a truck bed. (Video by Masahiro Ohya)

AMAKUSA, Kumamoto Prefecture--A sawmill here created a mobile hut entirely from Japanese cypress that can be installed on the bed of a light truck for use as a leisure facility, catering service or emergency shelter.

Measuring 2.2 meters long, 1.4 meters wide and 1.82 meters tall, the mobile home, priced at 900,000 yen ($8,285), was displayed at the Nov. 22-24 exhibition of Harada Seizaisho, the developer of the traveling residence.

Hiroyuki Harada, 71, president of Harada Seizaisho, said the endeavor is in line with Kumamoto Prefecture’s efforts to promote locally treated wood.

“The aroma of Japanese cypress has an effect that makes people relax,” Harada said. “I want consumers to use the hut for leisure activities, remodel it for mobile catering or use it as an emergency shelter.”

Up to two adults can sprawl out in the hut, which is full of the fragrant aroma of the timber.

Insulation is sandwiched between the inner and outer walls. A side of the outer wall can be opened for use as a table, and a solar panel on the roof makes it possible to turn on a light within the hut.

Harada has been developing furniture using timber from renowned wood-producing areas across the nation. The materials include huge camphor wood originally prepared for the overhaul of Kumamoto Castle to mark the 400th anniversary of its foundation, as well as noted Japanese cedar on Yakushima island in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Harada often uses a small truck to go to the sea and mountains on his holidays. So about a year and a half ago, he hit upon the idea of making a mobile hut to allow passengers to relax while viewing magnificent scenery.

The one that went on display was the third model.

The biggest challenge has been the weight of the huts, given that the maximum load for a 660-cc mini truck is 350 kilograms.

The first model weighed 330 kg. But the weight has been reduced to under 300 kg through improvements.

The design of the wooden residence can be changed according to customers’ orders for mobile catering and other purposes. Although it is fixed on the truck bed with metal parts during drives, the hut can be removed and placed on the ground for children and adults to play and relax in.

In Amakusa, Japanese cypress is currently in season for use as wood. The prefecture’s Amakusa regional promotion bureau is moving ahead with a project to spread awareness and the use of locally produced timber.