The fact that the imperial court was supplied with paper from the province of Inaba (Inshu) is noted in the Engishiki, the Heian period (794-1185) document on official court dealings. By the beginning of the 18th century, the making of Inshu Washi had become centered on two villages and a paper for the exclusive use of the local clan was being produced.
Echizen Yaki ranks among Japan's six old kilns and therefore has a history dating back many centuries. First fired toward the end of the Heian period (794-1185), upward of 200 old kilns sites have been discovered in the area to date. It was in these massive old kilns that all manner of everyday articles such as pots, jars, mortars, flasks, and jars in which to keep a black tooth dye fashionable at the time were fired.
Kasukabe Paulownia Chests
At the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868), craftsmen who had gathered to build the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, took up residence in Kasukabe, an inn town along the old Nikko post road. It is said that these craftsmen were responsible for starting this craft by making cabinets and small articles out of paulownia taken from the surrounding area.
Suruga Hina Doll Fittings
Paraphernalia for the Hina Matsuri or doll festival was already being produced in Suruga in the 16th century when Imagawa was feudal lord of this province that corresponds to present-day Shizuoka Prefecture. With the construction of Kunosan Toshogu shrine and the Asama Shrine, many advanced craft techniques were introduced from all over the country and the production of Hina paraphernalia developed as part of the lacquer ware industry which, benefiting from the warm humid climate of the area, became established during the Edo period (1600 -1868).
Hiroshima Household Buddhist Altars
The Jodo Shinshu of Buddhism has found favor among the people in Hiroshima for any hundreds of years. At the beginning of the 17th century a number of artisans skilled in making decorative fittings, braided cords and lacquerers moved into the Hiroshima area from Kishu, and it was their skills that became the foundation of household altar making in this area.
The weaving of this cloth started about the same time as the Yomitanzan Hanaori Fabrics and is similarly characterized by its tropical feel and motifs. Production ceased for a time but was revived by elderly people who knew the techniques involved.
Aizu Hongo Ware
It seems that the making of pottery started here during the Sengoku period (1428-1573), when tiles to roof a castle in Aizuwakamatsu were being made. Then, during the early years of the Edo period (1600-1868) Hoshina Masayuki, who led the Aizu clan, saw a need to patronize and further the making of pottery, and the production of what became Aizu Hongo Yaki ware flourished under the supervision of the clan. This subsequently led to the making of everyday pieces of pottery for use by people at large. Production of ceramics here suffered badly due to fighting just prior to the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and as a result of a devastating fire in the Taisho period (1912-1926). The industry recovered, however, and is still thriving today. It has the distinction of being the oldest area where white porcelain is produced in the whole of northeastern Japan.
Kyoto Fine-Pattern Dyeing
Kyo Komon dates back more than 1,200 years, when the all-essential stencil papers were first made.
Murakami Carved and Lacquered Ware
The Murakami area of Niigata Prefecture has been well known since the Heian period (794-1185) as a natural lacquer producing area. Using this refined sap, Murakami Kibori Tsuishu dates back to the beginning of the 15th century.
Large quantities of kaolin were discovered in the area during the 18th century. With the help of the local feudal lord, potters skilled in the making of porcelain from Arita in present-day Saga Prefecture were brought in to help, and the porcelain made in the castle town of Izushi marked the beginnings of this ware. Subsequently, the number of kilns increased in and around this castle town and a production center became established.
There are many stories about the origin of this craft, but it is known to date back to the mid-17th century.
Koshu Crystal Carving
This craft started some one thousand years ago, after quartz was found near Mount Kinpu beyond Mitakeshosenkyo, which is famous for its beautiful views. When it was first discovered, it was used as an ornament but by the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), Shinto priests were taking the raw material to Kyoto to have them made into gems.