Kochi prefecture is known for several traditional craft items produced through the inspiration of master craftsmen. Those craft products also utilise Kochi’s abundant natural resources.
Tosa-Washi is one of the most famous craft items in Kochi and takes its name from Kochi Prefecture, which was previously known as Tosa and Washi, which means Japanese Paper. Around 84% of the land in Kochi is covered by mountains, and, given that environment, there are several clear and clean rivers across the prefecture, which is one of the reasons Tosa-Washi has thrived in Kochi because Washi needs pure and clean water to be made. Also, it’s believed that the history of Tosa-Washi dates back more than 1,000 years and one of its characteristic features is that it’s quite thin but very strong. As a result of this remarkable quality, Tosa-Washi is used in the Lourve Museum in France for conservation and restoration of their collections.
In Kochi there are workshops where you can make your own Tosa-Washi designed paper in a hands-on experience.
Atelier Kamikoya is the most popular workshop for foreign travellers in Kochi. The master craftsman, Mr, Rogier, will teach people not only how to make Washi, but also about the materials he organically grows.
Another famous craft item in Kochi is Tosa Forged Blade known as “Tosa Uchihamono.” Since forestry has long thrived in Kochi, Tosa Uchihamono has become a well-known brand throughout Japan, and these kitchen knives are highly valued not only by professional chefs but also home cooks.
As a result of the quality brand of Tosa Uchihamono, other schools of blacksmithing have also emerged including the workshop Kurogane. The master, Mr, Hayashi, makes forged knives from iron sand and this method is called Tatara method. He offers blacksmithing experience for travellers and several courses are available. If you make a knife from iron sand, the process can take three to four days, however, there are one-day programs available. The workshop is held in English and once you make your own knife there, it can be either shipped back to your home or sent directly.
Both Kamikoya for Washi and Kurogane for Blacksmithing are located in the rural area of Kochi. Kamikoya is surrounded by beautiful mountains and Kurogane is at the middle stream of the Shimanto river, which is considered to be the last pristine river in Japan. You can relax and concentrate on making your own craft items in peace and quiet, unknown and off the beaten track areas.
Contact Japan Holidays for further information.