Photo By: Victoria Vlisides
Region
Shikoku
Island
Shikoku
Largest City
Kochi
Population
813,980

Kamikoya Washi Studio

This guesthouse-studio hybrid is redefining cultural exchange in the Japanese countryside.

Deep in the wilderness of Shikoku, Japan’s smallest of its main islands, is an unexpected way to experience a traditional Japanese art form. Kamikoya Washi Studio, where you can learn how to make your own washi (handmade Japanese paper) and even stay the night, is not your typical tourist stop.

Washi Kamikoya Washi Studio

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Washi Master Rogier Uitenboogaart in his washi showroom at Kamikoya Washi Studio.

The studio and two-story minshuku (bed and breakfast) is atop a hill overrun with wildflowers and plants overlooking the Otado valley in the relaxing nature of Kochi Prefecture.

kamikoya

Photo by: kamikoya A wintery view from Kamikoya which is green and lush in warmer months.

The studio, located in the remote Yusuhara Town, is run by longtime resident Rogier Uitenboogaart and his wife. They started it after Rogier moved to Japan to study washi paper making, a craft that started in 610 AD. Over 34 years later, he is part of the reason the practice endures in its purest form despite the advance of technology.

Rogier, who is from Holland, and his wife, who is Japanese, are gentle souls dedicated not only to their own thriving craft business but also spreading the joy of it to others through their workshop experiences.

washi paper kamikoya

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Visitors can experience the joy of handmade paper making.

At the studio, you can see how they make the washi paper almost entirely by hand — from the stripping the bark off the mulberry trees on their property to drying and breaking it down to the fibers of the bark to adding a sticky extract from the vegetable okra.

washi paper kochi

Photo by: Kamikoya The delicate art of washi painting at one of the workshops.

The workshop is a hands-on experience where Rogier takes you through each step. You get to make keepsakes such as a washi paper lantern decorated with leaves you collected from the yard. After it dries, they’ll later send you the homemade souvenir.

washi paper kamikoya

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Design your own washi with natural elements and do washi painting for flair.

Beyond the studio, the guesthouse is a fusion of East and West, going from a log-cabin-like common area to a traditional Japanese guest room upstairs. Guests get a taste of a real Kochi meal made from local and organic ingredients like river fish and mountain veggies for dinner and then take a rest in the tatami mat room accented with washi paper lamps.

kamikoya washi paper

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides A delicate washi paper lamp which makes for a unique souvenir.

Near Kamikoya lies more of Kochi’s untouched nature such as the Shikoku Karst Natural Park, a gorgeous sea of rock formations and rolling pastures and the babbling tributaries of the Shimanto River, that make up the region’s lifeblood.

Kamikoya Washi Studio is a one-of-a-kind experience that’s your reward for venturing out into the real Japan.

Tours

There are a few tours to consider while traveling in this area. Here are two options:

  • Chojuan lunch and washi paper making tour – See tour.
  • Washi paper making and cycling by the Shimanto River – See tour.

This article is sponsored by Koch Prefectural Government.  

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Things To Know

Workshops

You can experience different types of workshops. See the options: https://kamikoya-washi.com/english/workshops-en

Staying at Kamikoya

There is limited space at the inn, so it is reserved for groups, not individuals. For between one to six people, it is ¥8,500 per person with two meals; ¥4,500 yen per person with no meal. For 1 or 3 people – ¥9,500 per person with 2 meals, ¥5,500 with no meal.

How To Get There

Address

1678 Ōtado, Yusuhara-chō, Takaoka-gun, Kōchi-ken 785-0603, Japan

By train

The nearest train station is Susaki station. You can take the Dosan line from Kochi station for about 20 stops (1 hour, 10 minutes). From there, you need to take a bus to Kamikoya.

By bus

There are seven buses per day to Yusuhara Town from Susaki station. From the bus stop outside the station, get off at the Yusuhara bus stop. From there, you can arrange pickup by the owners of Kamikoya. (To arrange, contact Kamikoya.)

Bus Times

Kochi station > Kamikoya – Weekdays

  • From JR Kochi station bus stop to Yusuhara on weekdays: 6:36, 8:26, 11:31, 13:26, 15:46, 16:41, 18:26. 
  • From JR Susaki station bus stop to Yusuhara on weekdays: 6:47, 8:17, 10:37, 13:22, 15:32, 17:40, 18:55.

Kochi station > Kamikoya – Weekends/public holidays

  • From JR Kochi station bus stop to Yusuhara on weekends/public holidays = 6:41, 8:21, 11:31, 13:26, 15:46, 16:41, 18:26. 
  • From JR Susaki station bus stop to Yusuhara on weekends/public holidays = 6:47, 8:17, 10:37, 13:22, 15:32, 17:40, 18:55. 

Fare: From Kochi station to Yusuhara is around ¥3,400 one way.

By car

From Kochi: The nearest highway interchange is Susaki-Higashi Interchange. It takes two hours from Kochi Ryoma Airport.

From Ehime: The nearest highway interchange is Uchiko-Ikazaki Interchange. It takes 2 hours from Matsuyama Airport.

Where To Stay

Tenguso
  • Yoshiunootsu 4921-22 Takaoka-Gun Tsuno-Cho, Kochi 785-0504
  • 9.2/10
  • 4.4 km
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Nature Resort in Shimanto
  • Nakatosacho Onomi Igeno 652 Takaoka-Gun Nakatosa-Cho, Kochi 789-1414
  • 8.5/10
  • 16.5 km
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  • 〒781-1802 KochiAgawa-Gun Niyodogawa-Cho
  • 7.5/10
  • 16.8 km
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Hosenbo Lodge
  • Shirokawa cho Takanoko 64 Seiyo-Shi, Ehime 797-1705
  • 9/10
  • 19.2 km
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