Nibutani Ita

Nibutani Ita is a craft that has been passed down for over 100 years by the Ainu people living in the Saru River basin region. There are records that indicate that round and half-moon shaped trays were presented by the people of this region in the latter half of the 19th century.


These trays are made of flat wood, and they are beautiful and practical items that can be used in everyday life. The wood is carved with traditional Ainu motifs such as the moreunoka (spiral motif), aiushinoka (thorn motif), shikunoka (eye motif), and also ramuramunoka (scale motif).

How to make

1. Raw wood is carved into a tray shape, and left to dry for three to four years.
2. Itatori (the surface is made flat, and the size to be used is cut out.)
3. Katadori (the rough shape is carved, and the base and corners are formed.)
4. Monyobori (the design is sketched on, then lines are carved following the sketch. The design is emphasized by carving deeper lines, and in order to make the carving more expressive, the important patterns are surrounded by a second set of lines.)
5. The scale pattern is carved (tiny squares are scored, then carved.)