History of Kurotani Washi
Kurotani Washi has a history dating back 800 years and is said to have its origins as a way for the defeated soldiers of the Heike Clan hiding from their pursuers in the mountains to make a living. Since then, the village of Kurotani has been recognized as the home of traditional hand-made paper, an art that touched the majority of the villagers.
While a series of large fires has left little historic material, paper dating back to 1593 is said to be the oldest surviving paper remaining in Kurotani village.
While they primarily manufactured paper for everyday uses (shoji doors and lanterns etc.) various incentives led to further development of the craft and in the Edo period a large volume of paper was made for use in connection with Kimono in Kyoto, due to the village’s close proximity to the old capital. In line with developments in silkworm farming following the Meiji period, paper was also manufactured for use in cocoon bags. Over the years, uses for Kurotani Washi have changed from practical uses to more commercial applications and more recently the area has become the home of traditional, hand-made Japanese paper across Japan, developing a range of paper and other products, such as postcards, writing paper, art paper and craft paper for everyday use.
While the paper industry across Japan has changed dramatically over the years from Japanese paper to western paper, hand-made processes to automated processes, Kurotani Washi has remained true to its hand-made heritage, preserving a craft from the Japan of old. Despite changes in applications through the years, the traditional paper making process has remained the same. Kurotani Washi has forged a name for itself around the world as the home of this very valuable, pure hand-made Japanese paper and this art continues to be handed down to future craftsmen.
Experience making Kurotani Washi & explore the Washi Center
Experience making Kurotani Washi by hand. Make a reservation by forwarding your name, preferred date and time, number of people and contact number using the e-mail address below or call to make a reservation.(Accepted with 5 people or more.)
Please note that the venue may change depending on the day.
*Staff can only speak Japanese however we warmly invite you to come along and experience the art of making Japanese paper!
Kurotani Washi Cooperative Association
Kurotani Washi Kaikan
3 Higashidani, Kurotani-cho, Ayabe City, Kyoto 623-0108
9:00 – 16:30 (Closed Sat, Sun, national holidays)
Take the JR Sanin Main Line to Ayabe Station and exit the station from the south exit.
2 minute’s walk from the [Kurotani Wash Kaikan Mae] stop on Aya Bus Kurotani Line.
> 15 minutes from the Ayabe Ankokuji IC on the Kyoto Jukan Expressway
> 10 minutes from the Maizuru-Nishi IC on the Maizuru Wakasa Expressway
Kurotani Washi Kougei No Sato
31 Kaketo, Tokura Nabatake-cho, Ayabe City, Kyoto 629-1242
9:00 – 16:30
Open only on Sat, Sun and national holidays (Closed from January to March)
Take the JR Sanin Main Line to Ayabe Station and exit the station from the south exit. 2 minute’s walk from the [Tokura] stop on Aya Bus Kanbayashi Line.
> 30 minutes from the Tamba IC on the Kyoto Jukan Expressway
> 30 minutes from the Ayabe IC on the Maizuru Wakasa Expressway