Niigata Lacquer Ware
Techniques were originally introduced from other centers where lacquer ware was being made at the beginning of 17th century but in 1638, a specialist area for the selling of japanned goods was established under the name of a ""bowl store"" in what is now Furumachi, and received official protection. By 1819, the craft was well enough established for a list of ""master lacquerers"" to be recorded.
Nagoya Paulownia Chests
It seems likely that the making of this distinctive style of paulownia chest was begun in Nagoya by craftsmen who, having been involved in the building of Nagoya castle some 400 years ago, settled there and began making chest of drawers and chests.
Fostered by the well-known entrepreneurial spirit of Omi tradesmen, the hot local climate and a plentiful supply of water from the Aichi River, production of woven ramie cloth developed in this area from the Kamakura period (1185-1333).
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.
Hakone Wood Mosaic Work
This form of marquetry began at the post town in the mountains of Hakone about the middle of the 19th century. At first it was mainly an unstructured form of marquetry or one using a simple pattern. Then in the 1870s, marquetry skills from around Shizuoka were introduced and now Hakone Yosegi Zaiku is well known for its extremely fine handwork and as being the only craft of its kind in Japan.
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.
Hikone Household Buddhist Altars
Gradually during the 18th century, highly skilled armorers, lacquerers and other artisans were encouraged by the Hikone clan to work on the making of household altars, at first more or less as a ""cottage industry"". Subsequently with the rise in popularity of Buddhism and the patronage of the Hikone clan, a production center became established, forming the foundations of the small craft industry as it exists today.
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.
Towards the end of the Edo period (1600-1868), a carpenter living in Shimane Prefecture obtained an abacus from Hiroshima made by a specialist and made a very good one using locally sourced oak, Japanese apricot and a smoked form of bamboo called susudake.
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).
Tokyo Fine-Pattern Dyeing
Although the history of this craft can be traced back to the Muromachi period (1392-1573), it was not until the Edo period (1600-1868) that cloth of this type was produced in any quantity. Stencil-dyed cloths were especially used for the kamishimo, a piece of formal dress worn by the Daimyo. These regional feudal lords were required to reside in Edo for long periods and the resulting increase in demand for this cloth made Edo the center of its production. Originally, it was only the Daimyo and samurai classes who wore garments of this cloth.
Nagaoka Household Buddhist Altars
During the 17th century, a number of temples and shrines were built in and around the city of Nagaoka. It seems that the specialist carpenters, sculptors of Buddhist images, sculptors of other carved elements and lacquerers who had come into the area from all over the country because of this building work, started making household Buddhist altars during the winter months.