In this study, cost-effective cellulosic biomass based activated wood charcoal was developed from Japanese Sugi tree (Cryptomeria japonica) by concentrated nitric acid modification for adsorption of Cs from contaminated water. The physicochemical properties of specimens were investigated using N2 adsorption-desorption isotherms (BET method), FESEM, FTIR, and XPS spectra analysis. The experimental results revealed that the surface area of the raw wood charcoal was significantly decreased after boiling nitric acid modification. However, several oxygen-containing acidic function groups (-COOH, -CO) were introduced on the surface. The adsorption study confirmed that the equilibrium contact time was 1 h, the optimum adsorption pH was neutral to alkaline and the suitable adsorbent dose was 1:100 (solid: liquid). The maximum Cs was removed when the concentration of Na and K were lower (5.0 mM) with Cs in solution. The Cs adsorption processes well approved by the Langmuir isotherm and pseudo-second-order kinetic models and the maximum adsorption capacity was 35.46 mgg-1. The Cs adsorption mechanism was clearly described and it was assumed that the adsorption was strongly followed by chemisorptions mechanism based on the adsorbent surface properties, kinetic model and Langmuir isotherm model. Most importantly, about 98% of volume reduction was obtained by burning (500 °C) the Cs adsorbed charcoal, which ensured safe storage and disposal of radioactive waste. Therefore, this study can offer a guideline to produce a functional adsorbent for effective Cs removal and safe radioactive waste disposal.