Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paper Paradise - Kyoto's Morita Wagami

This past week I hopped on Japan's famous Shinkansen (bullet train) with my hubby to hang out for a few wonderful days in Kyoto. We saw many beautiful temples, ate many delicious meals and met many interesting people. But the highlight of any scrapbooker's trip is of course, the trip to the paper store!

My guidebook says, "The Japanese had paper in production for over 500 years before the Moors opened the first paper mill in Spain in the 12th century ... Paper has been aborbing mankind's mistakes and schemes, ideas and feelings, images and dreams for centuries. And no where more beautifully than in Japan." I was intrigued by the romanticism of that statement. But the truth is that visitors to Japan soon learn that the Japanese use paper for lanterns, doors, windows, fans, umbrellas and the list goes on. A trip to any Japanese paper store is a treat, but Morita Wagami sounded devine. The guidebook shows that Morita Wagami deals in over 800 kinds of handmade Japanese washi paper and as it turns out, was not far from our hotel.

So one fine morning, we went walking in search of this store. We meandered through some temple gardens and down a narrow side street before stumbling upon the shop. Once inside it was like heaven on earth! The colors! The designs! The textures! I immediately began to make piles of the papers I wanted. My favorite was a soft blue Yuzen. Yuzen paper is only allowed to be sold in cities which are artistic centers for kimono production as they use the same designs and colors as kimonos.
Next came the Kin Washi - a machine made paper from manila fiber. It's smooth on one side and textured on the other. I chose a soft green. Other papers in my collection included Uzen and Kaga Chiri (Chiri is handmade from long kozo fibers with imbedments of small pieces of bark) and Chiyogami (a highly decorative silkscreened Japanese paper).  I also chose some tissue paper flowers and a tiny folding fan. My purchases were all rolled into a handy tube and we left with Mr. Morita's email address in our pockets. He assured me that if I forgot which papers were which, I could just email him and he would be happy to help.

Take a look at some of the paper art on dispay at Morita Wagami.

Want to win some of my stash? Keep an eye out for the next Funday Monday challenge at MAF for a chance to win the items below!


Patty B. said...

LOVE those paper flowers!!! What a fun shop. I'm afraid I would have emptied my wallet on those beautiful papers.

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