Originating in India, this method of weaving was introduced into Japan around the 14th century along eastern trade routes.
Yamagata Household Buddhist Altars
By the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), the number of people travelling to and from Kyoto had increased because of the trade in such crops as safflower from Yamagata. As a result, Buddhist altar culture found its way into the area.
Kawatsura Lacquer Ware
The beginnings of this craft go back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when the younger brother of the lord of the fief who ruled this area, ordered the retainers to take up lacquering pieces of armor and weaponry as a job, using locally tapped lacquer and Japanese beech cut from the mountains in the area. The making of bowls began in earnest in the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868) and by the end of the period work was concentrated on the three districts of Kawatsura in what is now Inakawa-cho, Odate and Minashi and the making of everyday pieces of household goods flourished in what had become a production center.
Wajima Lacquer Ware
Although the oldest piece of Wajima Nuri is the shunuri-tobira made in the Muromachi period (1392-1573), other items and tools have been found during surveys of archaeological sites that date back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Lacquer ware is therefore known to have been made much earlier. During the Edo period (1600-1868), Wajima Nuri was known for its durability and was being used in the homes of farmers and merchants up and down the country. By the end of the 19th century it was also being used in restaurants and inns and designs gradually became grander and more decorative.
Edo Cut Glass
It is said that the origins of Edo Kiriko date back to 1834 when a Kagaya Kyubei, who was working in a small glass works in Edo (Tokyo), copied a piece of English cut glass. It also seems that Commodore Matthew Perry, who arrived in Japan toward the end of the Edo Period (1600-1868), was very surprised when he was presented with a splendid piece of Kagaya's cut glass.
The origins of this ware date back to sometime between the second half of the 7th century and 8th century A.D. At the time, a type of earthenware called sueki was being fired and in the early days, seed pots used by farmers were being made. Subsequently, however, it seems that temple roof tiles were produced.
This type of cloth dates back to the beginning of the 19th century, when a 12 year old girl called Inoue Den was inspired by a scrap of old material. Later, the Kurume clan in the south west of present day Fukuoka Prefecture promoted its production.
Tosa Forged Blades
Records show that at the end of the 16th century there were some 400 smiths at work in Tosa. While they were skilled in the making of the samurai sword, they also seem to have made sickles and knives at the request of local farmers. Subsequently, with the promotion of forestry and the development of new fields in the area, bladed tools for agriculture and forestry were made in large quantities and a production center for forged goods came into being.
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.
Beppu Bamboo Basketry
The making of bamboo baskets for sale by travelling peddlers during the Muromachi period (1392-1573), marked the beginnings of this craft.
Production began in the late Edo period. Zelkova, pawlonia, and other wood is processed using a unique joinery method, then covered in lacquer, and ornamented with metal fittings to create stately products.
Kyoto Folding Fans
Folding fans date back to the beginning of the Heian period (794-1185). It is thought that the first ones were shaped very much like the fans we know today but they were made out of several thin leaves of wood tied together. These fans were called hi-ogi because they were made out of hinoki or Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa).