Echizen traditional Japanese paper Echizen washi
Japanese History and Tradition
First Class Quality and Exceptional Artistry
What is Echizen traditional Japanese paper ?
Echizen Washi is a Japanese paper made in the basin of the Okafuto River of the Echizen region, Fukui Prefecture. Washi is made mostly from the inner bark fibers of plants such as paper mulberry, paperbush and Diplomorpha sikokiana. Echizen Washi features elegant and inspiring natural colors and is known for its high quality, being both very resistant to insect damage and capable of being stored for a long time
Since paper mulberry has thick long fibers, it is processed into sturdy papers which are suitable for calligraphy, dolls and other craft products. Washi made from paperbush has a smooth and slightly glossy texture, therefore it is generally used for fusuma sliding doors or printing paper. Since it is very difficult to grow Diplomorpha sikokiana, people have collected the plant in the wild from olden times. Washi made from paper mulberry features fine wrinkles called shibo, which is perfect for producing certificates of merit or the paper used during a tea ceremony. Other than those types mentioned above, there are many varieties of Echizen Washi, such as the ceremonial paper used among court nobles, samurai families and shrines, as well as for gift wrapping and certificates.
The history of Echizen Washi making presumably began no later than the 4th or 5th century when paper was first imported to Japan. The Shosoin Repository in Nara has the oldest preserved manuscript which includes mention of Echizen Washi.
The Echizen region has inherited the Kami Festival, one of the intangible folklore cultural assets of Fukui Prefecture, in which for centuries people have enshrined the paper god of the Ootaki shrine and the Okamoto shrine. Initially, Echizen Washi had been made for sutra copying, and later, as court nobles and samurai families began to use more paper, production developed under the protection of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the local lords. High quality products like Echizen ceremonial paper became famous, and along with the development of papermaking techniques production increased. This industrial success resulted in the creation of the Fukui local paper currency resembling present currency notes. In the Meiji period, paper for the national currency issued by the Grand Council of State was made in the region, and the Paper Money Office of the National Printing Bureau was also established here.
Echizen Washi steeped in the national cultural traditions dating back to the earliest times also has a strong connection with the practical methods used to produce paper currency in Japan. Today, there are a wide variety of products; ranging from small business cards and postcards for everyday use to traditional and prestigious lines like Echizen ceremonial paper.
General Production Process
Where to Buy & More Information
Echizen Washi no Sato
ClosedAround the New Year
Business Hours9am to 4pm
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