Mino Paper – Mino City in Gifu

I visited MINO-WASHI Traditional Japanese Paper Museum in Mino city Gifu Prefecture.

 

 

The River Nagara is in front of it.

 

The sign says Waku-Waku it means exciting House.

In the museum entrance there is a huge paper plane.

It was used in a TV program.

There is a large garden where children can play.

The museum has a lot of information about Japanese paper and its manufacture.
You can join a workshop to make paper.
The school children in Mino city, make their graduation certificate paper themselves. I am jealous of them.

After visiting the museum, I was taken to Mr. Masashi Sawamura who is a chairman of Hon Mino Paper Preservation Society.

Here he is putting his hands into chilled water and showing how to make Japanese paper.

 

 

It was a very cold day and he used a heater for his back.

I asked him to stop as it was so cold, but he said
“I must continue so we can make high quality paper.”

I could see his love of paper making.

There was a big poster on the wall next door.

Mr. Sawamura’s photo.

It was a lucky shot to catch the mist effect, it was NOT a photoshop picture.
“For the photo, I arranged for the wind to blow like that…”

The director of MINO-WASHI Traditional Japanese Paper Museum explained with a gesture.

I was thinking to leave, but Mr. Sawamura invited me into his office to show me some materials.

He also showed me some calligraphy.
Some of them are treasures, I enjoyed seeing them.
I thought we had finished, then Mr. Sawamura surprised me.

“Could you write on the paper?” Mr. Sawamura said.

“???”
“I DO NOT want to write on such a precious paper.” I could not accept his offer.

He said, “No problem. Try to write.”

“I know the value, so I can’t.”

At last he won the discussion.

He said that “I want you to feel how it is to write on my paper.” so I accepted.

But he handed me a calligraphy pen, not a proper calligraphy brush. I was sorry to use a calligraphy pen on such a precious paper.

“Show me your hand writing.” he asked me.
I wrote `MINO`美濃.

He saw my calligraphy, then asked
“Could you write bigger letters?”

He took a big calligraphy pen from his drawer.

I was very surprised to see such a big calligraphy pen, I did not know the company made them that big.
I was glad about the offer but I did not want to waste the paper, so I refused.

However he insisted, and I gave in.

It was valuable paper. I shouldn’t write without practice, I thought. Then I asked everyone what I should write for him.

`WA` for WASHI 和 `at MINO` 美濃

I was sorry that it was not my best work, but he was glad to see my calligraphy and people took a photo for us.

I was sorry that it was not my best work, but he was glad to see my calligraphy and people took a photo for us.I did not expect to write in Mino, but I could not refuse his smile.

After the visit, the Gifu prefecture officer and Mino city officer took me to town for sightseeing. They took me to Udatsu(firewall) rising street.

They showed me an Udatsu it is a gap between buildings that stops fires crossing over.

Only rich people used Udatsu during the Edo period, so we have a saying that “If you do not succed, you don’t need a Udatsu.

There are a lot of Udatsu in Mino city because the city’s commerce was thriving due to Japanese paper making and other.

In the town, there is the shop named Shiyuu.

Shiyuu sells many kinds of Japanese paper’s goods.

I could see the variety of Mino Japanese paper.

I am glad to know about Mino Japanese paper from the people in Mino. Many thanks to Gifu prefecture officers, Mino city officers. The director of MINO-WASHI Traditional Paper Museum gave me MINO-WASHI goods. Mr. Masashi Sawamura gave me his hand making paper.

Not only did I have a good experience there, I felt their passion for MINO-WASHI and thank them for their kindness in helping me.

 

I would spread the word about MINO-WASHI in the UK.

I am looking forward to going to Mino city again.
I hope to go there with my students next time.

Omi Hachiman

Omi Hachiman is a city beside Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture.

It has been developed as a commercial town and has many merchants.

The area where the merchants lived.

 

 

There is a canal that still seems to be as it was.

Here is the company that makes a popular cream that my family used.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The statue is of Mr William Merrell Vories, he came here from the USA and ran the company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a Hakuun-kan(白雲館 White Cloud Building), it was built as school in the Meiji era.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a Hachiman shrine the name of the town ; Omi Hachiman comes from it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

We took the Mt.Hachiman cable car.

 
I enjoyed to see the beautiful view.
It was my first time to see Lake Biwa it is the largest lake in Japan.

 
On the way from the summit of Mt. Hachiman, I entered a Japanese sweet shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the sweet shop; Tane-ya. I used to buy the same sweets in Tokyo.
There were Japanese ladies who wore Kimono.

 

In Tane-ya, I ate Tsubura-mochi. It looks like Tako-yaki(Octopus ball), BUT IT ISN’T!

 

 

We stayed at the Hotel New Omi in front of the station.They were very hospitable. I especially enjoyed the breakfast it was brilliant!

Omi Hachiman is not far from Kyoto.
I highly recommend to visit Omi Hachiman and stay at Hotel New Omi.

Karuizawa Wild Bird Forest

Karuizawa is a place in Nagano prefecture that is famouse for bird watching.
One of my hobbies is bird watching since I moved to the UK, this site was recommend by a Japanese bird watching guide.

There is a Karuizawa Wild Bird Forest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In there, we can rest and have a cup of tea at the refleshment area.

We can borrow a bell for protection from bears, but we did not borrow one this time.
Because when we borrowed one before, we could not see any birds. However we did see birds in the car park when we arrived and did not have the bell.

We started our walk around the pond.

In the winter season, there is an ice skating rink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

I enjoyed taking a walk in the freash air.