History of Gokayama Washi

In the feudal period, Gokayama was the domain of the Lord Kaga, of which a lot of old documents related to Gokayama Washi remain. There are few production areas nationwide where the primitive wooden tools such as papermaking boats and takuri boats for peeling the barks, ash boxes for boiling are existed except Gokayama. It is considered that the technique of washi making conveyed directly from Nara and Kyoto was formed by this mountain people into unique washi culture.
The records shows that Gokayama Washi had been paid as an annual tribute to the Lord Kaga in addition to raw silk since1585. In the Edo period, Gokayama Washi developed under the protection of the Kaga clan along with ensho or gunpowder ingredient. People in Gokayama raised silkworms to manufacture raw silk through spring to autumn, produced gunpowder ingredient in summer and made washi paper in winter living in a large triangle shaped thatched house called “Gassho-zukuri”.
In 1950, the Goka Paper Cooperative was organized in order to preserve Gokayama Washi in later years, and in 1968 the Higashi-Nakae Washi Production Association was formed. While the production area of Washi disappeared one after another nationwide, Gokayama washi has been protecting the traditional techniques and passed down the classical washi paper making.
In 1982, as the demand for washi decreased due to the spread of western paper, the Washi Craft Research Center, the predecessor of Washi no Sato was established in order to create new products and train successors to washi. In 1988, Gokayama Washi was designated as a national traditional craft under the name of "Etchu Washi" along with two other washi production sites of Yatsuo and Asahi located in the same prefecture of Toyama (its ancient name Etchu). Its long history and tradition cultivated by the abundant nature of mountain village was evaluated as a Washi Culture.
Today Gokayama Washi is used for shoji screen paper of the Katsura Imperial Palace and restoring paper for documents of the Imperial Household Agency and National Important Cultural Properties. Gokayama washi has also become custom-made items from artists such as chigirie or paper collage, woodblock prints, paintings and materials for various arts and crafts as well as interior finishing.

How Gokayama Washi is Made.

Gokayama Washi-no-Sato is engaged in everything from the cultivation of the raw materials to the processing of washi paper. We carefully raise our own kozo, a type of paper mulberry on a field about a hectare in size where is blessed with abundant snow melting water. Its strong fiber natured by nature creates Gokayama Washi reputed for its durability.

Workshop Menu

  • Post Card

    Time : about 20min.
    Charge : 800 JPY / person
    Open : 10:00〜15:00

Road station TAIRA Gokayama Washi no Sato

  • 215 Higashi Nakae, Nanto-shi, Toyama
    Phone: 0763-66-2223
    Mail: info@gokayama-washinosato.com

    The maps and brochures of Gokayama and nearby areas are available. Please take opportunities here to have a break and relax. The videos in English & Japanese such as washi Japanese paper making process and local dances and songs are offered to show.