Large quantities of kaolin were discovered in the area during the 18th century. With the help of the local feudal lord, potters skilled in the making of porcelain from Arita in present-day Saga Prefecture were brought in to help, and the porcelain made in the castle town of Izushi marked the beginnings of this ware. Subsequently, the number of kilns increased in and around this castle town and a production center became established.
Toyooka Willow Basketry
The craft can be traced back to the 1st century AD, and there is a willow basketwork box, the Tajima no Kunisan Yanagibako, among the treasures held at the Shoso-in Repository in Nara.
Recognized as one of the six old kilns or Rokkoyo in Japan, the origin of Shigaraki Yaki dates back to the making of roofing tiles for the Shigaraki palace by Emperor Shomu during the Tenpyo period beginning in 730.
Kamo Paulowina Chests
It seems that the making of Kamo Kiri Tansu began with one made by a carpenter in the early part of the 19th century. The very same chest is still being used in the city of Kamo today and it is inscribed on the back with ""Purchased 1814"".
Echigo Yoita Forged Blades
The making of Echigo Yoita Uchihamono dates back to the Sengoku period (1428-1573) of unrest. It was then that warring feudal lords who fought alongside Uesugi Kenshin encouraged swordsmiths from Kasugayama into the area and these skilled men began making various kinds of forged blades.
Kyoto Yuzen Dyeing
Although dyeing techniques had existed since the 8th century, it is said that the yuzen technique of painting dye directly onto cloth was established by Miyazaki Yuzensai, a popular fan painter living in Kyoto toward the end of the 17th century. He introduced his own style of painting as a way of rendering pattern and this led to the birth of this handpainted dyeing technique.
Miyako Fine Ramie
Four hundred years ago, a boat carrying Okinawan tributes was caught in a typhoon. A man, who happened to be on board from Miyakojima called Sugamayonin Shin'ei, heroically dived into the sea when the boat was about to sink and repaired the damage thus saving the lives of all the crew. Recognizing his bravery, the King of Ryukyu made him a monk. In return, Shin'ei's wife was overjoyed and lovingly wove a piece of cloth to give to the King, and it was this cloth that is said to be the origin of Miyako Jofu.
Sendai tansu grew as a local industry of the Sendai-han beginning in the final years of the Edo period (1603 - 1868). The kijiro-nuri wood treatment that brings out the wood grain, and the deluxe metal fittings that decorate the chests are distinctive features of this craft.
Matsumoto Kagu developed from one of the trades set up around the time that Matsumoto in present-day Nagano Prefecture became a castle town in the latter half of the 16th century. It was not until the end of the Edo period (1600-1868), however, that the production of household furniture actually began.
Kamakura Carved and Lacquered Ware
When Zen Buddhism was introduced from China during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), many arts and crafts were imported at the same time. Sculptors of Buddhist images and carpenters who built temples and shrines were influenced by examples of carved lacquer ware called tsuishu and tsuikoku that were amongst these Chinese imports.
The weaving of this cloth started about the same time as the Yomitanzan Hanaori Fabrics and is similarly characterized by its tropical feel and motifs. Production ceased for a time but was revived by elderly people who knew the techniques involved.
Edo Art Dolls
In the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), a priest called Takahashi Tadashige is said to have been very proud of a small wooden doll that he had carved from scraps of willow which were left over from boxes used in a festival at Kamigamo shrine in Kyoto. Then using remnants of fabric from his priest's clothing, he dressed the doll by inserting the ends of the fabric into the wooden torso.