Japanese Paper Products
Japanese paper, “Washi” is carefully handcrafted from the fibers of plants. Washi is thin, yet durable and resilient against water. Moreover it is an acid-free paper, meaning it does not degrade easily. It is said that the life of paper is 100 years for Western paper and 1000 years for Japanese paper. Making the most of this feature, Japanese paper is used to preserve and restore paintings and ancient documents in art galleries and museums around the world. Toyama has a long history of washi-making, with a record of “Etchu washi” appearing in a document of Shosoin, the Imperial Treasure House, dating back over 1200 years. Etchu washi is the collective term for “Yatsuo washi”, “Gokayama washi” and “Birudan washi” and is a designated national traditional craft. Washi is still being produced using the ancient techniques in all three of these regions.
The town of Yatsuo is best known for its “Owara Kaze no Bon Festival”. The Yatsuo washi paper made here developed along with the pharmaceutical industry, being used to make medicine packages, ledgers to record who received medicine and so forth.
Even today, the craftsmen of Yatsuo continue to use the unchanged techniques of the past, carefully completing each step of the process from layering to dying. Leveraging its features of being tough and long-lasting, Yatsuo washi is used in business cardholders, cushions, wallets, pen stands, handbags and more. Yatsuo washi is the key element in a lineup of exquisite items with a texture you won’t grow tired of.
Gokayama gassho zukuri village is renowned as a world heritage site. The Kaga-han exerted much effort into the manufacture of paper since ancient times, hence the area became the production base of premium washi. Even today, there are many washi products such as calligraphy paper, post-its, letter sets and so on. We also recommend the paper mache dolls made from washi. The dolls include the Hina Doll and the Boy’s Day Doll, true representations of authentic Japanese culture which are perfect for expressing the simple appeal and texture of washi.
Asahi is a town on the eastern tip of Toyama prefecture. Amongst magnificent natural surrounds, Birudan washi is made in the populated woodlands. In the past, this region had over 100 washi-making factories, but now there is only one who carries on the tradition. Faithfully protecting techniques of old, this craftsman lovingly performs all the washi-manufacturing steps by hand, from growing of ingredients to the final touches. Birudan washi is known for being durable, resilient and soft.