Traditional Okuaizu craft designated a national traditional handicraft of Japan that has been passed down over many generations

Written by Editorial department
26 Aug 2015
Last update :

Amikumi-zaiku made with natural materials

In 2012, Mishima in Okuaizu was chosen as Japan's most beautiful town. This was in recognition of not only the beautiful scenery blessed with nature, but also the traditional events and lifestyle crafts carried out in the town.

At center spotlight is the Okuaizu Amikumi-zaiku craft. This is a handicraft made using materials found in nature to weave baskets, bowls, and other items needed in daily life. The weavers, who are mostly of advanced age, make the crafts at their home workshops in the winter when they cannot do agricultural work.

Amikumi-zaiku crafts made with Japanese sedge, silver vine, or crimson glory vine are also designated national traditional crafts of Japan.

Skills passed down in the home

Nowadays, people make not only daily commodities, but also bags and other stylish items that are known as the “Hermès of the forest and Louis Vuitton of the mountain” for their high quality. That said, Amikumi-zaiku is simply an extension of a lifestyle, and is passed down from grandmother to mother and grandchild.

Each and every carefully woven piece has the special warmth of a handmade item. It feels as though the joy of creation is conveyed from that warmth.

The long winter raises the quality of handiwork skills
The long winter raises the quality of handiwork skills
Recently, very stylish bags have also become popular.
Recently, very stylish bags have also become popular.
Recently, very stylish bags have also become popular.
Recently, very stylish bags have also become popular.

Leisurely experience weaving

At the Mishima Lifestyle Craft Gallery, you can try weaving crimson glory vine yourself. It takes about one hour to make a small strap. Experience is needed to do it well, but if you weave according to the instructions, it is interesting to see the product take shape. You can feel one part of the fun of handiwork.

Mishima Lifestyle Craft Gallery where you can experience weaving
Mishima Lifestyle Craft Gallery where you can experience weaving
Experience simple weaving at the Lifestyle Craft Gallery.
Experience simple weaving at the Lifestyle Craft Gallery.

How about joining the tour below to try making crafts yourself?