Let’s try making traditional Japanese paper in Ainokura!


How is your stay in Shirakawago & Gokayama World Heritage sites?

I believe those who’s visited each village has enjoyed quite a lot.

In this article, I would like to introduce one more thing to do in the World Heritage village.

If you heading to Kanazawa or Takaoka by World Heritage Bus, you can also stop over Ainokura village which also belongs to the World Heritage area.

In Ainokura village, you can try to make traditional Japanese paper!!

How to access to Ainokura village

If you take a World Heritage Bus, it is very easy to visit Ainokura village.

Please take the bus from Shirakawago bus terminal or Ainokaze Takaoka station and get off the bus at Ainokura-guchi stop.

It takes about 10 minutes from Ainokura-guchi bus stop to the entrance of Ainokura village.

What is traditional Japanese paper?

Traditional Japanese paper known as “washi” has a great contrast to Western paper that was introduced from Europe and America, it refers to paper made from tree bark.

Washi is characterized by the fibers which are much longer than Western paper. Ahtough it is thin, it is strong and has a relatively long lifespan with a unique texture.

It is usually expensive because it uses rare materials and the productivity is extremely low.

How to make traditional Japanese paper

Japanese paper known as washi is made from tree bark as raw material. Let’s see how it is made.

  1. Dry the tree bark.
  2. Boil it in a large pot.
  3. Soak in fresh water for about 2 days and drain the broth.
  4. Use bleach to whiten the fibers of the tree bark.
  5. Pulverize the raw material.
  6. Strain it one by one with a tool called “suketa” to stack the paper on top of the other, applying pressure evenly and dehydrate it slowly.

What is washi used for?

Below are the usage for washi paper.

  • gift
    Washi is considered a valuable item and was used as a gift to show respect and gratitude.
  • housing materials
    In Japan, humidity should have been controlled, Japanese houses are built with wood, grass, soil, and washi paper to control the humidity and temperature.
  • painting
    Washi was used as a canvas of traditional Japanese drawings called “yamato-e” to make the drawings look more elegant.

I have so far told about what traditional Japanese paper is like. How was it? I really would like you to know one of the authentic beauty of traditional Japanese crafts.

Just please enjoy Japan more in Gokayama area. Thank you for reading through my article.

See you next time!!


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National Licensed Guide Interpreter / Web Creator
Hi my name is YUICHI. I was born in Toyama, Japan. I guide foreign tourists with a passion to promote the popularity of Hokuriku & Hida region. I'm a friendly person who like to listen to the story of your country such as food, culture and history. I also like to enjoy walking, cooking, drinking and traveling.