Washi Paper Craft Workshop at Toyota City

Chubu Culture Art 2020.01.29
With the cherry blossoms blooming out of its ordinary season, Toyota is definitely a beautiful autumn destination. Toyota is famous for its cars and the autumn sceneries, but did you know that they are also famous for their Washi paper? Let us introduce you to Obara Washi, a beautiful craft with centuries of history.

Obara's Washi Paper

Washi paper in the Obara area has been traditional local produce for over centuries. 
Up until the Meiji era, they have been producing their paper to be used for traditional Japanese umbrellas and book covers. More recently, they have been developing the techniques and modernised the use of washi and also incorporated it into Art.

We heard that there is a workshop where you can make this washi paper, so we extended our journey just a little to go to experience the traditional paper making. 

Washi no Furusato【和紙のふるさと:わしのふるさと】
This is Obara's paper art museum that also has a workshop and a souvenir shop within.
  • Shall we get started?
  • We see different ingredients used here and they seem to recycle and reuse some of them as well.
  • We also see here trial batches of how the colours turn out. It's interesting to know that they are constantly looking for ways to improve their tradition.
  • This is one key ingredient called Kouzo【楮:こうぞ】a kind of plant.
  • They also have different shapes you can use to add to your paper later on.
  • This is where we start. First by evening out the pulp.
  • Next was to add your favourite colour.
  • Then start placing your favourite shapes.
  • Spray with water from the top to make sure it sticks to the paper properly.

    And your part is done!

    The lecturer will take care of the rest of the process including drying.
  • By the way, this was something that the lecturer made. It was deliberately made uneven so the texture of the paper becomes more obvious.
  • The results were beautiful.
    The colours turned out more vivid than we thought without each colours getting mixed and smudged. 
  • A Japanese artist made this one here.
    The colours and the patterns seem to turn out well in this particular washi paper.
  • This is what the professionals made here. You can see that not only colours are vibrant but they make patterns as well. That's what you will be able to do once you know your basics!
  • Here at the museum/workshop they also sell products that use these beautiful washi papers. There are notebooks, handheld fans, pens, and many more!

    This place is definitely worth checking out.

    Obara Paper Art Museum: Washi no Furusato
    Address: 216-1 Hora Eitaro, Toyota-shi, Aichi (map)
    Open Hours: 9:00 am till 4:30 pm 
    Closed on Mondays unless Monday is a holiday. Also closed during new years time Dec 28 - Jan 4
    Official Website
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