#2353

Washi This

Learn

 

You can make washi

Washi is handmade paper and is typically made from the fibers of one of three types of bushes; gampi, mitsumata, or paper mulberry.

Washi is actually amazingly tough, even more so than paper made from normal wood pulp. It's used in a variety of items such as Japanese kites, lamp shades, woodblock prints, and even clothing.

The production of washi is similar to regular paper. It's normally made using very cold water to prevent the bacteria that causes decomposition of the fibers. The branches of one of the bushes, kozo (paper mulberry), are most often used to make washi. After boiling the branches, the bark is stripped off, and then boiled in lye to remove the starch. After that the fibers are bleached then beaten. Wet balls of the pulp are placed into a vat of water and a sticky liquid made from the tororo plant.

The pulp is lifted from the vat using a special screen. The screen is dipped into the water several times until enough of it is spread across the screen to make a sheet of paper. Each sheet is stacked on top of the others to form a thick pile. The tororo liquid has special properties to keep the sheets from sticking together. Each sheet is then separated and spread on a dryer to complete the process.

If you'd like to try your hand at making washi a good place to do so is in Washi-no-Sato (washi village) in Higashichichibu in Saitama. See their English website for information and directions. (http://www.sainokuni-kanko.jp/eng/experience/053.html)

If you want to buy washi products in Tokyo there are many shops selling them. One good place is Isetatsu. They have some beautiful washi, nice papier-mâché articles, furoshiki (large wrapping cloths) that can be tied into handbags, and framed artwork. All would make a nice gift or reminder of Japan. To read more about the area where Isetatsu is located see my article on DeepJapan at: http://www.deepjapan.org/a/2300

Joe Peters image

Joe Peters

United States

Joe Peters's other advice

Sites and Sounds of Japan - the Used Goods Truck images

Sites and Sounds of Japan - the Used Goods Truck

Oct. 13, 2014http://youtu.be/jJvXx1eqI7QAs you wander around Tokyo you may see some little trucks driving very slowly along the street with a very loud announcement, and perhaps a bit of musi…

Leave the tourists behind in Asagaya images

Leave the tourists behind in Asagaya

Most tourists to Tokyo hit the high spots of Asakusa, Ginza, Tokyo Tower, and see the Imperial Palace grounds.If you want to leave the tourist spots behind and get a taste of the real Tokyo thoug…

Chubby Guys With Blank Eyes images

Chubby Guys With Blank Eyes

At the shrines, and in many shops, you’ll see these roly-poly dolls with blank eyes (if they are for sale) or one eye painted black (if they are on display and owned by the shop).These rotund dol…

Who'll Stop the Rain images

Who'll Stop the Rain

If you come to Japan during the rainy season (June / July) you'll likely see these little dolls hanging in the windows of homes, especially those homes where children are living.No, these are lit…

Real Coffee images

Real Coffee

There are plenty of places to get a cup of coffee in Japan. Every convenience store, a Starbucks or Tullys on every corner it seems, and numerous tea and coffee shops and restaurants.But, when yo…

Australian Curry Amidst the Green images

Australian Curry Amidst the Green

Many visitors to Japan just stay in the cities with a few day trips to places like Kamakura (great place to visit), or Hakone, or a shopping tour to one of the many outlet malls (Gotanda is a poplula…

You might also like

Ride The Tokyo Metro Like A Boss With These Apps images

Ride The Tokyo Metro Like A Boss With These Apps

To people new to Japan, the Tokyo subway system, stylishly called "Tokyo Metro" is a confusing labyrinth of lines going every which way. Orderly thought and planning, it would appear, seem to be the…

jdlawrence image

jdlawrence

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette images

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette

Attending a Japanese funeral can be stressful, even shocking, if you don't know what to do. The more you know beforehand the better, as you'll be able to comfort and support mutual friends and their …

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

Enjoy the Yokohama Market, heaven for fish lovers, in a more delicious way images

Enjoy the Yokohama Market, heaven for fish lovers, in a more delicious way

When we think of the Marine Products Division of the Yokohama Market, we imagine the intermediate wholesalers, true professionals in the world of fish, all lined up, with other professionals in the w…

Kanagawa P.G.T.D. image

Kanagawa P.G.T.D.

Figuring out the Green Car in Japan: JR Train Business Class Seats images

Figuring out the Green Car in Japan: JR Train Business Class Seats

JR Green Car is my favorite way to travel. After living here almost 27 years I still almost start to cry when I see the Green Car (premium seat car) slide past and go way down to the other side of th…

 image

Japanese Massage Etiquette to Enjoy a Relaxing, Stress Relieving Moment images

Japanese Massage Etiquette to Enjoy a Relaxing, Stress Relieving Moment

Just last week, I’ve experienced another massage establishment called “Minnanotemomi”. Minnanotemomi mean’s roughly everyone’s massage and the massage they did for me was excellent caliber, yet one o…

AustinA image

AustinA

Why Do Japanese People Call Mt. Fuji, Mr. Fuji? images

Why Do Japanese People Call Mt. Fuji, Mr. Fuji?

If you wondered why Japanese people refer to Mt. Fuji as Mr. Fuji, you are not alone.When I first came to Japan, and actually until about two years ago, well okay, actually it still happens a lot…

 image