Obara Paper Art Museum Washi-no-Furusato - Washi Artwork Gallery
Culture is spread through information, information is spread through communication, communication is written on paper, paper is produced in Aichi.
Kozo is the Japanese name for the mulberry trees that seem to grow particularly well in the Obara region of Aichi Prefecture’s Toyota City. These mulberry trees have been the source of the particularly strong and versatile traditionally handcrafted washi paper produced here since at least the late 1400’s. Kozogami washi is much stronger than ordinary paper, and is the most common type of washi. It is closer to woven cloth than paper, and was used for the traditional arts of origami, shodo (calligraphy) and Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Other uses include sliding screen doors in houses, books, even items of clothing were made from Kozogami washi.
The people of Obara Village have been making a particular type of paper known as Mikawa Morishita Gami for hundreds of years. Until the Showa period, this strong paper had been used for umbrellas and shoji screens amongst many other uses. The manufacture of the washi was a long and labor intensive process that was often carried out in the cold winter months when farming was halted, and as cold, fresh water was essential on the making of washi.
Washi No Furusato
The full process, and the results can be seen in the Obara Paper Art Museum, Washi no Furusato on the outskirts of Toyota City.
The museum gallery displays the culture of Obara washi, and art works using the versatile paper. In particular, works related to Fujii Tatsukichi, the founder of Obara paper art, along with washi from all over Japan can be seen. The museum’s grounds are surrounded by lush greenery, with vegetation used in the paper making processes along the pleasant walking trails.
Visitors can watch a short explanatory video on the papermaking process and then try their hand at making their own sheets of creative paper in the Art and Craft Center, where painting, calligraphy, and fan making is offered. Handcrafted Obara washi products are also on sale.
While the thought of a museum dedicated to paper may not sound so appealing at first, discovering the history and the culture behind Japan’s wonderful washi paper, and seeing, and experiencing for yourself the arts it has spawned, makes for a fascinating first hand look at one of Aichi’s important traditional handcrafts.
216-1, Hora Eitaro-cho, Toyota-City, Aichi
|Opening days / hours||9:00 to 16:30|
|Parking lot||150 free parking spaces|
|Holidays||Monday (no substitute holiday if Monday is a public holiday, etc.), year-end and New Years (December 28 to January 4)|
|Access by Public Transportation||・From Nagoya Station, take the subway Higashiyama Line. Alight at Fushimi station and take the subway Tsurumai line. Alight at Toyotashi station and take the Toyota Oiden Bus Obara Line bound for "Kaminigi". Alight at "Washi no Furusato"stop and 1minutes walk.|
|Access by car||Exit at the Tokai-Kanjo Expressway Toyota Fujioka I.C. or the Sanage Green Road Nakayama I.C. and drive on Route 419 for 15 km in the direction of Mizunami.|
|LINK||Obara Paper Art Museum Washi no Furusato|
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