Tesuki Washi, beautiful colors and texture

In November 2014, the “techniques for making Tesuki Washi” were registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. These techniques include, “Hosokawa-gami” from Ogawa-machi, Saitama Prefecture, “Hon-Minoshi” from Mino City, Gifu Prefecture, and “Sekishu-banshi” from Hamada City, Shimane Prefecture, all of which had already been registered as nationally-designated important intangible cultural properties.

A scene of a person making Tesuki Washi
The technique for making Tesuki Washi has not changed since old times.

Washi is a type of paper made only in Japan that uses the bark fibers of Kozo (mulberry trees), Mitsumata (paperbush) and Ganpi trees. The paper is made by dissolving those fibers in water, pouring them onto a screen called Suketa, shaking the screen to strain the water through it and then flattening the fibers on the screen into an even thickness. This technique is called “Tesuki”. Because it is all made by hand using naturally produced bark fibers, each sheet has a different look and feel. You can experience actual Tesuki Washi-making in some Washi-producing areas. The final step, evening out the paper fibres to an uniform thickness, is more difficult than it looks and you will realize how skillful professional paper makers are.

Fan and lights
Fan (left) and lights made of Washi

Goods made of earthy handmade Japanese paper are perfect for souvenirs. Small goods, such as postcards and fans, and items that add colors to your daily life, such as lights and tapestries, are pleasing to the eye too. You can feel the beauty of these Japanese craftworks and their long-held tradition.