Ishishu Washi is a specific type of Japan's traditional paper, handmade from local mulberry plants in western Shimane for over 1300 years.
Awarded UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage status in 2014, why not visit a traditional washi workshop to discover first-hand the communities and craftspeople that continue the cultural art of washi-production into the modern day?
Dating back to 600AD, legend has it that this paper was first brought to Japan by Korean Buddhist monks, and was key to the spread of the religion through the nation as scriptures were written and distributed through this new means of communication. As time passed and production increased, washi was made more durable and became utilised for what have since become a number of Japan's most famous icons – from lanterns to paper doors and even windows.
Plus, because washi production only uses the new-growth branches from each local plant, rather than cutting the entire tree down, it's also one of Japan's most eco-friendly crafts – steering clear of chemicals and machines with a traditionally handmade and natural approach.
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