In Japan, where it grows natively, as well as throughout North America where it is cultivated, the falsecypress is used as ornamental decoration in parks and gardens, especially in its dwarf cultivar forms, which are characterized by bright foliage. It is used as ornamental decoration and at places such as temples, shrines and palaces and also cultivated plantation-style and used as timber to build these temples, shrines, palaces, and even coffins.
A Japanese Landscape called the Gateway of the Imperial Messenger was created for the 1910 for Japan-British exhibition, mimicking the Karamon of Nishi Hongan-ji in Kyoto, and a replica, designed by a professor named Fukuhara of Osaka University was constructed in 1996 following restoration of the Gateway. The garden is a true manifestation of “biophilia” in that it is composed of a garden of peace and a garden of activity and has elements to symbolize the beauty of the natural world and its movements. The Imperial Highnesses Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko planted a falsecypress when they visited the garden in reverence for the tree and its importance to the Shinto faith, as was customary. When the landscape was opened in 1996, Her Imperial Highness Princess Sayako planted a Magnolia kobus in the garden, following this tradition.
There are many cultivars with a great variety of foliage coloration and some are dwarf. Some include:
Filifera, which has fine-textured, drooping stringy branches, is slow-growing and can reach 20 to 25’ tall.
Plumosa, which has feathery textured leaves and can reach 30 to 50’ tall.
Squarrosa, which has gray-green needle-like leaves, is feathery and is capable of growing to 30 to 40’ tall.
Golden Mop, a popular dwarf cultifar known for its golden yellow foliage.
The dwarf cultivars or cultivars on the smaller side are utilized as specimens (in exhibitions and as teaching tools,) as foundation plantings and in hedges to create privacy in residential neighborhoods. There are miniature versions of the cultivars that sometimes appear in bonsai, rock gardens, and Alpine gardens. The full-size cultivars, which can grow upwards of 30 feet, are typically used to create privacy in residential neighborhoods, or they are used as screens or windbreakers. The cultivars, especially those with vibrantly colored foliage, are considered very attractive and so outside of Japan, this tree is generally used as ornamental decoration.