Closely linked with the spread of Buddhism in the area, embroidery was introduced to the province of Kaga from Kyoto in the Muromachi period (1392-1573) and was used for the decoration of such religious trappings as altar cloths and surplice worn by monks.
Osaka Kongo Bamboo Blinds
The making of bamboo blinds goes right back to before the Heian period (794-1185). Blinds of this kind were first used as a screen inside the Imperial palace and the residences of noblemen, and became the model for blinds which are still used in traditional reception rooms today.
Gifu Chochin were first made by Juzo, a lantern maker in Gifu and the abundant supply of local bamboo and paper contributed greatly to the development of the craft. It seems that lanterns with similar features to those available today were in general circulation around the first half of the 19th century, and while some were used for the Obon festival or Festival of the Dead, others were simply lit to enjoy the coolness of a summer evening.
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.
It was not until the latter part of the Edo period (1600-1868) that Owari Shippo got its start. The area centered on present-day Nagoya was the domain of the Owari clan. The first pieces were made here and the skills and techniques of this craft gradually became established. The oldest piece of authenticated Owari Shippo is a sake cup made in 1833.
Mention is made in a late Edo period (1600-1868) ""shopping guide"" for Kofu, the capital of Yamanashi prefecture, that seals were being sold and skilled craftsmen were making blocks and seals in wood.
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).
Murayama Oshima Fabrics
While the history of this kimono cloth only seems to date back to the middle of the 19th century, it was in 1920 that the techniques associated with two different cloths were combined to produce the silk cloth known as Murayama Oshima Tsumugi.
Makabe Stone Lanterns
Good quality granite found in the Makabe area of Ibaraki Prefecture has been used to make a variety of useful articles since ancient times. The actual working of stone in the area began around the end of the Muromachi period (1333-1568) with the making of Buddhist stone articles around Nagaoka in Makabe-cho.
Kishu Lacquer Ware
Wood turners settled in the vicinity of present day Shiga Prefecture during the Muromachi period (1392-1573) and the turbulent times before the end of the 16th century. These craftsmen started making wooden soup bowls using the plentiful supplies of Japanese cypresses (Chamaecyparis Spach) found locally. This led to the production of shibujiwan bowls, which were primed with the tannin-rich juice extracted from persimmons.
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.
Toyohashi is situated at the center of the area which was once ruled by the Yoshida clan. Toward the end of the 18th century, the leader of the clan brought in Suzuki Jinzaemon from Kyoto, and he began making brushes for the clan. Gradually lower ranking samurai started this work and this marked the true beginnings of the craft in Toyohashi.