Uchiyama, Hometown of Washi
From Uchiyama you can look down over the Chikuma river, in front of you are the Madarao & Myoko mountain ranges.
In the ‘Edo Period’ shoji paper from Uchiyama was famous for its remarkable quality in Northern Nagano and this tradition continues the present day.
Characteristics of Uchiyama Washi
“Yukisarashi” (Snow bleach)- Bleaching on the deep snow in winter by ultraviolet rays. This method without chemicals produces soft, flexible and strong Washi which is suitable for Shoji paper.
The Origin of Uchiyama Washi
There are different views as to the origin of Uchiyama Washi.
Some say it originated with a man from Uchiyama called Kiemon Hagiwara.
In 1661 (the first year of Kanbun in the Edo period), Kiemon Hagiwara went to pray at Ise. On the way home, he stopped at Mino and learned how to make Washi. He then brought his newly learned skill back to Uchiyama.
Another View is that the people who lived in more remote area of Uchiyama named “Sabutane” already had their own way of making primitive paper.
It has also been said that Kiemon brought the washi production system to Uchiyama from Mino and combined it with Uchiyama method of making paper.