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Kochi Prefecture is a popular tourist destination for its stunning mountains, the sea, fresh seafood, and delicious sake. At the Ino-cho Paper Museum, you can participate in a paper-making workshop for Tosa washi: a traditional Japanese paper specific to this region.
Kochi Prefecture is located in the Shikoku region of Japan. Since it faces the Pacific Ocean, you can catch a glimpse of the beautiful waters if you head slightly south. Full of mountains and the sea, Kochi is overflowing with attractions and charms that are little known overseas. These include fresh seafood and delicious Japanese sake.
Additionally, Kochi is a great place to visit since there is plenty of fun, unique activities to participate in. This article features one of these amazing experiences offered in this vibrant prefecture.
Take the train from JR Kochi Station to reach Inocho in about 25 minutes. The Ino-cho Paper Museum is accessible within a ten-minute walk from Inoekimae Station.
At the Ino-cho Paper Museum, visitors can take part in a washi (Japanese paper) making class. Kochi Prefecture is known for a type of washi called Tosa washi. Tosa was the former name of the prefecture during ancient Japan. In 1976, the Japanese government designated Tosa washi as a traditional handicraft.
At the beginning of the lesson, there is a simple explanation of the entire washi paper-making. Within the paper-making experience, there are two standard techniques: tamesuki (technique using stored water) and nagashisuki (technique in flowing water). However, the most common workshop for participants is the tamesuki process.
To prevent the raw paper materials from being one-sided or too thin, you must firmly mix the materials with your hands.
Pictured above is a suketa or bamboo mat frame. This tool draws water into the raw paper materials. Once the raw paper materials reach a uniform thickness, the mat is carefully rocked in all directions to set the fibers in place.
After this step, the paper is moved from the suketa to the shitodai or drying rack. Since the helpful staff wants participants to get the most out of this experience, feel free to ask them for help if you have any questions. While your washi paper is drying, please check out the rest of the Ino-cho Paper Museum.
The Ino-cho Paper Museum is divided into four large sections.
In the first room, visitors can see a chronological history of Tosa washi paper, kamiko (clothing made from washi), and various items using this special Kochi technique.
In the second room are explanations of the tools used to make washi paper. Raw materials are also processed within it, which will help you better understand the paper-making workshop you participated in.
Here, you can watch skilled craftspeople manufacture Tosa washi. On the first Sunday of the month, you can also take part in the process yourself.
The fourth room is a souvenir shop selling goods made from handmade washi and other Japanese paper products. There are plenty of cute things that would make great souvenirs for family and friends.
In the time it takes to look around the museum, your paper should be fully dried (about 30-40 minutes). Stamps and other items in the museum are free to use, encouraging visitors to make original postcards. You should definitely give paper-making a try while visiting Kochi Prefecture!