Saitama Craft Center
Take home a piece of Japanese culture by making washi in the traditional way.
“Like this,” says a man as he shakes a wooden frame with steady, even strokes. The water drains out from the bottom, leaving a thin mulberry bark pulp. This is hosokawa-gami, one of three types of washi (traditional Japanese paper) that has been recognized by UNESCO as a piece of intangible cultural heritage – and it’s only made in Saitama.
While washi is now largely produced in factories, the tradition of handmade washi has been passed down through generations for over 1000 years. Take home a piece of irreplaceable Japanese culture for yourself by making washi in the traditional way at Ogawa’s Saitama Craft Center. You can make bookmarks and postcards or buy rolls of washi and other crafts.
Ogawa’s scenic little town makes for a great escape from the big city, with plenty of hiking trails that let you breathe in fresh mountain air. It’s also the home of the organic farming and permaculture movement in Japan, meaning delicious vegetables are cheap and available everywhere.
Though Ogawa is beautiful in any season, July brings with it the Tanabata Festival, featuring beautiful floats decorated in colorful washi.