VIDEO: Echizen City, home to high-quality washi paper in Japan


VIDEO: Echizen City, home to high-quality washi paper in Japan

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Washi is traditional Japanese paper known for its beauty, extremely smooth touch and excellent durability. In addition to its use as stationery and other paper products, Washi paper has been used to adorn shoji screens, fusuma sliding doors, umbrellas and lantern shades throughout history.



In Fukui Prefecture, Echizen Washi has been produced in Echizen City for over 1,500 years. This historic washi paper is considered one of the best in quality.

A visit to Echizen City is only a 3.5-hour train ride from Tokyo and offers a close look at the meticulous, tedious and demanding process to make the paper. Craftsmen peel bark from mulberry trees, airdry it, clean and boil the bark, soften it, then shape the pulp with glue and water into sheets.

These days, washi is becoming less and less common in modern society. Echizen Washi makers are adapting to modern needs and add new value to the craft.

Igarashi Seishi, a leading washi maker in Iwamoto Town and founded in 1919, customizes washi paper for wallpaper, interior decoration and drawing papers. Ryozo in Otaki Town is another washi maker using a unique technique to create pressed-patterned paper for packaging sweets, fans and notebooks. Ryozo also has a hands-on workshop for visitors to try.

Igarashi Seishi


The area is very devoted to washi paper, that even the local Shinto shrine is dedicated to Kawakami Gozen, the goddess of paper. Check out Okamoto-Otaki Jinja and its beautiful grounds in honor of the goddess who, according to shrine legend, originally showed Echizen locals how to make washi for their livelihood.

Okamoto-Otaki Shrine

Let Echizen City and its beautiful washi paper enchant you.

Igarashi Seishi (washi maker)

Location: 12-14 Iwamoto Town, Echizen City, Fukui Prefecture


Tel: 0778-43-0267


RYOZO (Yanase Ryozo Seishijo) (washi maker)

Location: 10-1 Otaki Town, Echizen City, Fukui Prefecture

Hours: Mon - Sat, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed Sundays)


Tel: 0778-42-1155


Okamoto-Otaki Jinja (Shinto shrine)

Location: 23-10, Otaki Town, Echizen City, Fukui Prefecture


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