Washi Tour 2010 Part 2 Tosa Washi Museum

Day 2 – As soon as we arrived in Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku Island, it was straight to the Japanese Paper Museum in Ino Town. The museum focused on Tosa Washi (washi made in Kochi) and displayed papers from historical to modern times. In 1976, the Japanese government designated Tosa Washi as a traditional Japanese craft, with Tengucho & Seicho-shi as cultural assets. The museum was a great introduction to washi in Japan and a glimpse of the real papermakers we were about to see.

The Tengucho paper is also known as the “wings of may-fly” in Japan and here in the entrance hall Tosa Kites invite visitors in.

“Tosa Nanirogami” – a set of seven different colored sheets of papers said to have been made by Saburozaemon Aki at the end of the 16th century. When the papers were presented to the Daimyos (feudal lords), the technique florished and spread throughout, influencing how paper was made and dyed in Kochi.

First room: History of Japanese Paper “Washi”


Gampi in different forms

Modern uses of washi as shown with washi artist Kyoko Ibe‘s washi necklace below.

The Second Room: Raw Materials and Tools:
The thin barks of Kozo, Gampi, and Mitsumata plants.

Kozo grows back after harvesting, but even with 5500g of the bark, the end product is only 245g as shown below from stripping, to boiling, cooking, beating, and pulp formation.

Transitioning out of the second room is an open air papermaking studio where paper is made for the museum shop.

The third room is for workshops and the fourth for present-day washi exhibitions.

In the shop you can find washi, decorative and plain, as well as washi products. Some were familiar to us here at the HPI store (dice books, Kochi business cards) Also sold below… rolls of fancy toilet paper!


Coming up next: a look into Tosawashi Village (Kuraudo) where we were stationed for 2 nights.

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