The Only One Shrine That Enshrines the God of Paper in Japan
Climbing up a village where the papermaking factory, the Ōtaki shrine welcomes you with its great dignity. The shrine preserves the God of paper, Kawakami Gozen, who is said to have passed the skill of papermaking on to this area. It is the only one place that enshrines the God of paper in Japan. The structure of the roof is regarded as the most complex in Japan and the shrine is designated as a national Important Cultural Property. Those who like paper visit the sacred site from all over Japan.
The Best Water for Papermaking
It is because the water running from the mountain of the village is very purified that the God, Kawakami Gozen, transmitted how to make paper. It is likely that the quality of water affects the completion of paper, in the case of using the same materials. The clean water that have not stopped running for 1,500 years is the basis on Echizen Washi, Japanese paper made in Echizen area.
The Traditional Skills That Have Continued for 1,500 Years
Among all kinds of Japanese paper, Echizen Washi especially has a long history of being used as an official document for the Imperial court and the warrior class during the Muromachi and Edo period, and of being used by the government in the Edo period. Furthermore, Echizen Torinoko Shi (literally translated as “paper that is made in Echizen and is bird’s egg”), having the reputation of “the King of Paper” because of its strength, preservability and elegant look, was designated as a national Important Cultural Property in October, 2017.
The Origin of Note
The first ever issued paper money in Japan was made of Echizen Washi due to its strength and preservability. Echizen Washi was employed not only to make Han Satsu, which is money issued by each domain in the Edo period, but also to make Dajōkan Satsu, which the Meiji government issued so that people could use money commonly throughout Japan. The current Japan note also borrows the technical method of papermaking and watermark from Echizen Washi.