Oku-Aizu Showa Karamushi Textiles
Karamushi is a plant also known as ramie, whose cultivation techniques have been passed down since olden times. All processes from cultivation up to weaving karamushi are done by hand in Showa Village where it is cultivated to produce fine linen textiles. Due to its superior moisture absorption and quick drying properties, it is used not only for making summer clothing, but also for making accessories, ornaments, and other articles.
Obori Soma Ware
Indications are that the origins of Obori Soma Yaki go back to toward the end of the 17th century.
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.
Aizu Lacquer Ware
It was the planting of lacquer trees promoted by a powerful local family during the Muromachi period (1392-1573) that led to the making of Aizu Nuri. Then, when Gamo Ujisato who hailed from present-day Shiga Prefecture arrived to head the Aizu clan in the Momoyama period (1573-1600), he brought skilled lacquerers to this northern region from Shiga. Their skills were disseminated and as a result of fostering the development of techniques in crafts using lacquer, Aizu soon became a production center for all kinds of lacquer ware.
Fragments of simple basketry and rope were discovered at the Arayashiki archeological dig in the town of Mishima, Ohnuma county in Fukushima Prefecture, proving that the skills and techniques of weaving and twisting ropes existed in the area as far back as the Jomon period, which covers the period of Japanese history from about 10,000 B.C. to 300 B.C. Then, in one ancient local chronicle about farming, reference is made of the fact that baskets were being made from vegetable and plant material in the Aizu region.