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Discover Tottori’s Artisanal History at Aoya Washi Studio

  • Located around half an hour outside of Tottori City sits Aoya Washi Studio, a workshop, gallery space, and gift store dedicated to the iconic local craft of washi paper production. Originating in China in the second century BC, the washi paper-making technique was said to have been introduced to Japan in around 610 AD by Doncho, a Buddhist monk from Korea. At first, the paper was mainly used for writing, but the Heian period (9th-12th centuries) saw paper utilized for other purposes such as in Japanese sliding doors, umbrellas, and arts and crafts. Here at the Aoya Washi Studio you can learn all about Japan’s washi paper history as well as its role in contemporary life.

    Aoya Washi Studio

    Aoya Washi Studio

    Over centuries Tottori Prefecture has been regarded as one of the most respected and well-known production areas for washi paper in all of Japan, and Aoya Washi Studio is one of Tottori’s main washi hubs. While exploring Tottori’s paper history, chances are you’ll stumble across the term ‘Inshu-washi’ which is the name given to the paper crafted here in the Saji-son and Aoya-cho areas of Tottori. Having been passed down through generations for over 1,000 years, this specific style of papermaking is carefully guarded by the Inshu-washi Cooperative Association, who have worked hard to keep the legacy and original tradition of Inshu-washi alive. You can learn all about this during your visit to the Aoya Studio.

    Aoya Washi Studio

    Aoya Washi Studio

    The main drawcard of the studio is its papermaking workshops. Here guests can learn all about the papermaking process by getting hands-on and trying the craft for themselves. By joining a workshop you can experience the process it takes to produce washi paper first hand, by carefully crafting your own individual sheet of paper.

    Aoya Washi Studio

    Aoya Washi Studio

    The Inshu-washi paper production process is one that’s been perfected over countless generations and remains authentic as ever at Aoya Studio. Making washi paper is an eight-step process in its entirety, from the stripping of the bark from the trees to the drying of the paper. Here in the workshop, you’ll learn all about the boiling, weathering, shaping, drying, and adjustment practices while you craft your very own paper. Once complete, you’ll have your very own piece of Tottori history to take home.

    Aoya Washi Studio

    Aoya Washi Studio

    The studio is also home to exhibition rooms that display both contemporary works made with Aoya washi as well as more historical pieces tracing the evolution and history of washi in the area. The exhibits rotate, so if you want to know exactly what’s on display it’s best to check online before you go.

    Aoya Washi Studio

    Aoya Washi Studio

    Once you’re done with your paper-making, be sure to visit the studio’s store to pick up some unique gifts crafted by local artisans. The studio is open from 9am until 5pm every day except Monday, however, if the Monday falls on a public holiday, the studio will be open and close the following business day. The studio is also shut over the New Years holiday period from December 29th until January 3rd. Admission for paper making course is 500 yen per person.

    Aoya Washi Studio

    Aoya Washi Studio

    To get to the studio by car the trip will take around 30 to 40 minutes from Tottori Station. If travelling by public transport take the JR San-In main line from Tottori to Aoya Station. From the station take the Hinomaru bus bound for Obata for 16 minutes and get off at Aoya Washi Kobo bus stop. Buses are infrequent between the stops so if you miss it, it’s best to catch a taxi from Aoya Station to the studio.

    Aoya Washi Studio, Tottori City
    Address
    Tottori Pref. Tottorishi Aoyachouyamane 313
    Phone
    0857866060
    Aoya
    Address
    Tottori City
    Phone
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