It is a slow-growing coniferous tree growing to 35 to 50 m tall with a trunk up to 2 m in diameter. The bark is red-brown, vertically fissured and with a stringy texture. The foliage is arranged in flat sprays; adult leaves are scale-like, 1.5 to 2 mm long, with pointed tips, green above, green below with a white stomatal band at the base of each scale-leaf; they are arranged in opposite decussate pairs on the shoots. The juvenile leaves, found on young seedlings, are needle-like, 4 to 8 mm long, soft and glaucous bluish-green. The cones are globose, 4 to 8 mm diameter, with 6 to 10 scales arranged in opposite pairs, maturing in autumn about 7 to 8 months after pollination.
Native to central and southern Japan. It is not native to Connecticut, however it can be found in parks and in landscaping as an ornamental tree.