Experience master craftsmanship up close
For over 1,000 years, master craftsmanship has flourished in Gifu in a variety of forms. Today, craftspeople carrying on traditional techniques handed down by their forefathers are focused on crafting items that are at home in contemporary life. We can see this in knives from Seki, where skills used to craft blades for samurai are re-purposed for kitchen knives and cutlery; in Mino washi paper, registered with UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage; in Hida-Takayama woodcraft, which has its origins in the decorative designs on temples and shrines in ancient times; and in the Mino ware that is reputed to make up more than 50% of Japan’s earthenware at present. We invite you to pick up and examine these many craft works combining beauty and utility.
In Seki City, located in central Gifu, the history of blade-crafting can be traced back 700 years. This city is known as one of the world’s top three knife producing districts.
2. Washi Paper
Boasting a history spanning 1,300 years, Gifu’s hon-minoshi paper was designated UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014. It is popular all over the world, being used for 90% of oriental painting restorations by museums such as the Louvre and British Museum.
3. Ceremic Ware
Gifu ware, with a 1300-year history, accounts for around 50% of Japan’s entire ceramic production, taking out the top spot in Japan. Here, they leverage traditional techniques to turn out a myriad of different products.
The Hida region in northern Gifu has been famed for woodwork since the 700s. Artisans make everything from traditional crafts, such as Hida Shunkei lacquer ware, to furniture and kitchen goods in a contemporary style.
In Gifu, the traditional craft warehouse of Japan, you’ll find many other time-honored craftworks, including Gujo Somemono, cloth dyed with traditional indigo dye, and masu, square wooden sake cups. Find something you love.