Washi Paper-making Highlights Tour

Japan's most durable hand-made washi paper comes from Kochi - this tour takes you through the process and philosophy that makes Japanese washi so special

2 days
Kochi

Highlights

  • Meet and stay with Dutch washi artist-in-residence, Rogier Uitenboogaart, in the foothills of the Kochi central mountain range, at Yusuhara Town
  • Learn about the eco lifestyle at the root of the washi making movement, including housing, diet, and community
  • Make your own washi paper and as an option, extend your craft experience to a bamboo workshop as well

Description

There are four main centers of washi paper making in Japan, being Gifu, Shimane, Saitama, and Kochi. Of these, Kochi was particularly notable for making ultra-thin but very strong craft paper - such as Tosa Tengujoshi, which is one of the thinnest papers in the world, at only 0.03 mm. Such natural treasures are possible thanks to the quality of the local fiber (mostly mulberry) sources and the water. Kochi prefecture today is famous as having one of the best preserved natural environments, and so its paper even today is sought after by lantern and book makers around the country. This tour focuses on the techniques for making washi as well as the philosophy that goes with them. Day One will take you up into the foothills of the Kochi central mountains, and the pretty town of Yusuhara. Here you will visit with and stay with washi "sensei", Mr. Rogier Uitenboogaart. On the second day, after a second session with Rogier, you will return to Kochi city via Susaki city. At Susaki, you have the option of a second experience seeing and learning how to work with Taketora bamboo -  a special bamboo variety only found in this area.

Details

This 2-day tour takes you to one of the leading foreign-born washi paper-makers in Japan, Mr. Rogier Uitenboogaart. You will spend several sessions with Rogier, learning the craft and philosophy of washi-making - Kochi-style. Your starting point is Kochi Station, a central and easy to find location in the city, although this tour allows you to travel by either public transport or self-drive rental car.


Tour
 
Itinerary

Day 1
Traveling from Kochi along the coast, you head inland at the city of Susaki, climbing ever higher towards the Kochi central mountain range and the verdant town of Yusuhara. First stop is to visit the iconic Kengo Kuma designed Yusuhara Community Library and other buildings around town. Yes, this is the same famed architect who designed the Taikoo Li Sanlitun shopping center in Beijing, and more recently the main Olympic stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. After lunch, you will travel to start the highlight of the tour - an afternoon and evening with one of Japan's leading foreign washi makers, Mr. Rogier Uitenboogaart. Rogier is a Dutch native who has lived in Japan for almost 40 years. Rogier and his wife Chikako have kindly opened their studio and home named Kamikoya, nestled in the forested hills of Yusuhara town, to make this tour possible. Rogier will not only demonstrate his own techniques for making paper, but will also stroll with you through his neighboring village and forest, pointing out things and areas of interest, explaining how they are all brought together to form the ecosystem that sustains his washi-making art and the lifestyle of the village.   

Day 2
In the morning, after a relaxing, delicious eco-breakfast (local, seasonal, and mindful foods) with the Uitenboogaart family, you will do a second session with Rogier, learning more about his cross-cultural learnings between western and Japanese paper making. He will also share with you more about his philosophy of natural harmony and how washi-making fits his world view and the environment around us. That said, just in case you need to indulge in a fix of twenty first century communications, the Kamikoya - their studio and home - retreat does have Internet.  Saying goodbye to the Uitenboogaarts in the late morning, you return to Kochi City via Susaki city. Along the way, you will get to drop on the Kure Taisho Town Market and enjoy a super fresh, tasty lunch, with morning-caught bonito sashimi or even tastier lightly seared Katsuo-no- Tataki. 

Day 2 - Afternoon Option 
An optional experience is to get up close and learn Japanese traditional bamboo craft. The experience is held  at the workshop of Yamagishi Bamboo Inc. in Awa area, Susaki City (in Kochi). Mr. Yamagishi is skilled in the working of Tiger Bamboo ("Taketora"), which is both rare and beautiful. The stripes that grow naturally on Taketora are said to appear because of the high mineral (specifically, gold) content unique to bamboo groves in the Awa area (including Yamagishi's) in Susaki City. If the weather is good, Mr. Yamagishi may take you up to the grove to see some massive specimens growing in their natural environment. After this experience ends, you return to Kochi City. 

 

Important information

Included in price

  • Home stay booking
  • Dinner and breakfast at Kamikoya Studio
  • Activities at Kamikoya Studio
  • Car rental cost if you are doing the self-drive option (If you are using public transport, you will need to self pay at the boarding location.)
  • Chat and voice support in English

Not included

  • Tolls, gas, parking for vehicle
  • Insurance for vehicle or yourself and passengers
  • Admission to any additional attractions that have gate/entry fees
  • Vehicle accessories such as child seat, freezer box, etc.
  • WiFi Router unless purchased separately, as recommended
  • Guides or other persons in attendance, other than the scheduled activities at Kamikoya Studio
  • Equipment for any activities you may plan to do independently (unless booked separately with us)

        Important information:

  • An overnight stay at Kamikoya Studio depends on room availability for your travel dates, and we may substitute a nearby hotel of similar grade if not available.
  • The meal at Kamikoya will be a simple country cooking meal. If you do not eat fish or have other food preferences, be sure to let us know well in advance.
  • You will need a working cell phone for navigation. If you need a WiFi Router, we have high-performance, reasonably priced units in stock.
  • Some parts of the route may be modified depending on weather and seasonal conditions.

         Know before you book

  • Cancellation:
    2 days prior to the day of your trip – 40 %
    1 day prior – 50 %, On the day – 100 %
    No-show – 100 %
  • Japan is a safe country and this tour is low-risk, however, we advise you to consider personal and third-party travel insurance out of abundant caution
  • If you are renting a car, we recommend you buy the car rental company's insurance policy.

        What you need to bring:

  • Sturdy pair of walking shoes, and a spare set of shoes in case of inclement weather
  •  Working cell phone (usable in Japan) or apply for our WiFi Router rental
  •  Battery extender/charger
  • Any pre-purchase passes, route maps, and other information
  •  Sunglasses, water bottle, and other personal accessories

Organised by Japan Travel KK

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