Okuaizu, Japan

Home of seasonal tradition and events

TRADITIONAL CRAFT
With inherited techniques, traditional crafts preserve texture of raw material.

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“Tewassa” means a trick in the regional dialect.

In Okuaizu, it also means to work on a craft. In Mishima, there are about 130 craftsmen. By their skilled hands, beautiful and durable baskets and handbags are produced from bark of crimson glory vine, silver vine and Hiroro (carex). These products attract many fashion-savvy people all over the country.

“Tewassa” means a trick in the regional dialect.

In Okuaizu, it also means to work on a craft. In Mishima, there are about 130 craftsmen. By their skilled hands, beautiful and durable baskets and handbags are produced from bark of crimson glory vine, silver vine and Hiroro (carex). These products attract many fashion-savvy people all over the country.

Traditional Craft Spotlight

The Okuaizu Basketry

Technique of this folk craft has been handed down for generations. Traces of this craft could be found in prehistoric items excavated around this region. The sophisticated baskets are made from bark of crimson glory vine, silver vine and Hiroro (carex). The products change their color to amber as time goes by. The okuaizu basketry is an officially designated traditional craft.
伝統工芸

Contact: Mishima-cho Seikatsu Kogeikan
Address: 395 Suwanoue Nairi, Mishima
http://www.okuaizu-amikumi.jp/

The Karamushi Weaving

“Karamushi” is ramie, a kind of fiber crops. Showa is the only place in the main island of Japan that Karamushi (ramie) is commercially cultivated. Characteristics of Karamushi textile are air permeability and hygroscopicity. The light-weight and strong textile is renowned among textile experts. The karamushi weaving is an officially designated traditional craft. 伝統工芸

The Karamushi Kogei Museum
Address: 1 Uenohara Sagura, Showa
http://www.vill.showa.fukushima.jp/sato.stm

Supreme Paulownia Wood Products

Paulownia wood products in Aizu is famous for beautiful luster and pattern. There is a custom in Okuaizu that a family plants a paulownia tree when a baby girl is born. When the girl gets married, the tree is used to make a household furniture for her. In Mishima, various paulownia wood products are created.
伝統工芸

Mishima Tourism Association. 0241-48-5000
Address: 214-5 Miyashita, Mishima
http://www.mishima-kankou.net/

Woodworks in Hinoemata
Eco-friendly crafts made of trees.

Mountain forests occupy about 80 ~90% of Okuaizu. As a result, forestry and a wood processing industry are active in this region. Using resources from the forests, craftsmen create household utensils. The woodworks are not only durable but also beautiful.

Hinoemata Wood Plaza
Address: 1136 Mizuri, Hinoemata
http://www.oze-info.jp/spot/mokkou/

Refined Carving in Yanaizu

This traditional craft has been around for over 400 years. With his extreme skill, an artisan curves a very small buddha statue and place it in a nutshell. Although the statue is so small, as small as 1 mm, an expression of its face is vividly carved. 伝統工芸

Yanaizu fine carving -Fuzan Kobo
It is possible to see the carving process.
710 Kaminakadairako, Yanaizu
0241-42-2066

Legends and Crafts in Okuaizu

Akabeko

Akabeko is the symbolic craft of Aizu. It is a toy of red cow made of paper. “Beko” means a cow. According to a legend, a red cow helped people to build a temple by carrying building materials in Yanaizu about 400 years ago.
伝統工芸


Michi-no-eki Yanaizu
Address: 179 Shitadairaotsu, Yanaizu
0241-42-2324

Kasya Neko (cat)
Shizukurayama’s Bakeneko Legend

A folk tale has it that there was a Bakeneko, a goblin cat, dwelling in the Shizukura mountain. This goblin cat inflicted so much misery on people in the region. When Kobo Daishi, a renowned Buddhist monk, heard about it, he got rid of the goblin cat by using a Koshiabura tree. After that, the cat was turned into a spirit of the mountain and served people by removing troubles and illnesses. Since then, when a baby is born in this region, a Kokeshi doll of the goblin cat is made for the baby as a talisman.

Mishima Kanko Koryukan “Karan Koron”
214-5 Miyashita Miyashita, Mishima
0241-48-5000