Japanese Washi Paper Story | Shimanto River ★ ONLY in JAPAN

Japanese Washi Paper Story | Shimanto River ★ ONLY in JAPAN

[Music] welcome to Shikoku right now I’m in coach prefecture along the shimanto dollar the shimanto River this is the longest river in Shikoku and the cleanest in Japan it’s the last of its kind which makes it very special in this episode we’re going to be looking at some of the activities that you can do here but first let’s see this river from the air in the spring before the mountain snow melts the waters are calm er a beautiful emerald green the fresh green leaves sprout from trees on the surrounding hills the Chaumont Ogawa is away from major cities and has no dams meaning it’s free flowing from source to sea a reason this river is considered the last clean waterway in Japan the river meanders around Cochise Hills [Music] you’ll find kayaks and houseboats cruising the lower parts Japan is a mountainous country and the rivers are historical places of Industry here for logging paper and fishing it’s the center of life both for humans and wildlife and the residents want to keep it that way [Music] where is the shimanto River it’s on Shikoku Island the smallest of Japan’s four main islands Kochi Prefecture is along the Pacific Ocean to the west of coach cities where you’ll find the Shimano River it’s an s-shaped River originating at Higashi Tzu no village and exiting into the Pacific nearly 200 kilometers away the best way to get around the area is by rent-a-car from Kochi zhuoma Airport I picked up the toyota mark X for a drive to the countryside from the highway to the one lane country road through the forests driving here is peaceful and the roads rarely crowded like in Tokyo and Osaka I made it to the first destination hotel SATA shimanto overlooking the river [Music] this hotel is a mix of Japanese and Western style with the tatami room the view outside the window was spectacular a peaceful shimanto river that flows through Nishi Tosa town of shimanto city some kayakers are out to explore the calm river on a peaceful spring morning it’s one of the activities here but certainly not the only one [Music] boats are a way to get around especially when the waters are high you’ll find covered boat tours like here but if you want to explore the river without a car you can rent a mountain bike at several places along the river like here at canoe huh [Music] all right so we’ve rented a bicycle it’s 1,500 yen about $15 now we’re gonna be riding around the Chaumont Ogawa and see what we see I’ve heard that this is one of the best ways to see the river let’s go make sure you take a couple bottles of water with you there aren’t many vending machines out there in nature the main roads offer wide open views long landscapes around the hills down there is a Ching Kobashi or sinking bridge they’re designed low like this so they can’t be washed away by flooding they also make drivers a little uneasy so you may prefer crossing by bicycle it’s easy just go straight and don’t look down there are no railings here to save you do you see me crossing down there [Music] there are 47 crossing the Chaumont Ogawa and the ching Kobashi is preserved as one of Kochi prefectures cultural heritage you don’t find them anywhere else [Music] I’m here to eat there’s a really nice restaurant just around the corner the shimanto rivers produce are outstanding and local restaurants like this one in a small town have become famous to travelers this one is called Sheyenne GT the name comes from the local Kochi dialect meaning vegetable fields so it’s not hard to understand the concept here it’s a chance to track traditional area foods made by local grannies I got here a little after the lunch rush the food is super healthy homemade with many options for vegetarians tasting local foods is an important part of travel around Japan and this place is a gem this is such a treat because all of the ingredients here is made locally by the old ladies who live here and that’s pretty unique you can see that there’s not a lot of restaurant options along the highways here in Shikoku but the ones that you do find are pretty special it directly mas off to our main destination you Suhana which is a little off the river in the mountains [Music] it’s one of japan’s old towns that have been renovated with inspirational designs cafes wider avenues and is attracting younger people to return to Kochi to live a more relaxed lifestyle in the hills with nature the main road used to be narrow thirty years ago lined with metal poles to protect houses from logging trucks speeding by now it’s wide open and feels relaxed a place you can stroll comfortably at night the you Suhana library is one of the most beautiful in Japan designed by architect Kengo kuma whose designs connect with nature through Japanese aesthetics the use of wood here makes me feel like I’m under the canopy in the forest every corner of the library is something special to look at [Music] I traveled into the forest and hills nearby to meet a master of making washing Japanese paper visitors can stay here while learning the craft from him from my room at Kimiko yeah I had an impressive view of a quiet valley this tatami rooms walls papered in washi – this is Roger who’s been making handmade paper since 1981 in Kochi his paper and craft has won many awards and gotten the attention of architect Kengo kuma who uses his paper in various projects the texture and style put this beyond just simple paper it can include foliage like a fern leaf for seeds washi paper can also be quite thick and have different uses like for wallpaper or even handbags and clothing in this workshop Roger will teach me to make a sheet of washi that I can use as a lamp I’ll get the chance to add some of the surrounding nature to make it my own design we start by walking right outside his show through your harvest in the winter and the branches you bring inside here you steam attack I can show this later branches you could an arm here we feel this water make a fire from below there and cover this barrel this big one here to the dark and steam those fresh branches the steamed branches are peeled and dried this is the foundation of washi paper it takes a lot of time to make this by hand Roger uses the traditional manufacturing technique called Tosa washi which is 100 percent sustainable but it takes a lot of time and work and skill to make yeah so that’s why real traditional mate why she’s very expensive well because we thousand yen or more for one sheet it’s just normal it’s all done labor it’s all the work the dried branches are moistened again you can see the fibers it sticks together still it’s time to get started some mountain water is put on top of the wooden board where it’ll be beaten the purpose is to separate the fibers and make them longer it’s done in a rhythm several times then put into water like this just this becomes the washi paper pulp next we go outside to look for natural ingredients to add to the washi paper basically you can pick any thing in nature in nature yes bright little small branches or leaves fresh green or dried you can make like Japanese food Kaka like like a crumb bolt this will give it some unique characteristics looks like this back in the studio Raja showed me the variety of okra found in kochi used to create slime this slime is important because when mixed with water it helps it move more smoothly and evenly like this viscous water mixed with your pulp so only slimy liquid water we want this line we want to slime we need we need the slime and again this is edible see it flows very thin layer you almost can’t see it but there is a very thin layer of a fiber here the water with the fibers and slime flow over the filter the water drains leaving the fibers behind it goes after a few cups you can see the fibers joined together to make a thin layer of paper so now you can see clearly that there’s something there now it’s time to add some nature to the washing so yeah I brought some stuff yeah this nice but this is a little bit too white so you should and then just start arranging it and then I can push like this and then flatten it a little bit with nature after placing it where you like another layer of fibers is added which locks it in I added some color to my washing with pulp mix with other natural ingredients this gives the washi paper more characteristics okay so till you’re finished yeah okay works for me and then just maybe to show you how that there’s so much water it’s so wet excess water is blotted and drained from the filter it’s then pressed to remove any remaining water from the paper I like it it’s it is nice the cut good balance then peeled and glued to a board to be dried for up to a week after the wash iasts at in the Sun for a while you can see how the final sheet will look like [Music] then it’s protected by the resident cat [Music] no mice here I talked with Roger about how the area impacts his craft and his own connection to coaching was not only the paper but I think the the culture maybe within two weeks I decided to stay the culture the food the nature especially and I only got a glimpse of it but people told me about the connection between the craft and nature and that was something quite new for me that it depend the paper his the paper culture really plan on the nature on the plants on and that they use plans for paper I mean it was all so when producing paper in the traditional way he’s dependent on the natural world around him I mean for bleaching if there’s no Sun you cannot bleach if it’s a cold year then the plants don’t grow well if so if you want to like we are doing here now if you want to dry the paper you need sunshine so every day every step depends so much on nature on the weather on the climate and and not only the fiber just during the process you all the time have to adjust to that they did the weather of the day or the climate of that period so one reason that makes Kochi and the shimanto region a paper Center for washi is its strong connection to nature which is a perfect home for Roger and his family Kochi prefect his reputation for clean environment is well-deserved residents live in harmony with the waterways and rivers wildlife here like in dragonfly Park thrive around the shimanto River the shimanto River provides delicious produce livestock and fishing and the residents respect the environment with sustainable logging and business practices enriching life and the economy but more and more the river is attracting tourism with people interested in Japan’s cultural connections with nature from adventure sports to washi paper making or just driving around to eat good food the river really is the life of the area [Applause] Samanta river or Chaumont Ogawa here in Kochi is truly a beautiful place it’s easy to fall in love with this area there’s loads of things to see and do here so if you do make the trip here to Kochi you will not regret it if you liked it hit that subscribe button and check out another one of our shows don’t miss my second live streaming channel only in Japan go and check out location photos on Instagram matinee [Music]

100 thoughts on “Japanese Washi Paper Story | Shimanto River ★ ONLY in JAPAN”

  1. Episode Table of Contents: Intro (Drone shots) 00:20 ▶︎ Kochi Airport Rent-a-Car / Hotel 2:06 ▶︎ Adventure Sports (Kayak & Mountain Bikes) 03:06 ▶︎ Lunch 05:08 ▶︎Yusuhara mountain town 6:38 ▶︎ Washi Paper Studio 8:02 ▶︎ Making Washi 10:21 ▶︎ Finishing Washi Paper Design 13:33 ▶︎ Washi Paper Master Interview 15:25 ▶︎ Kochi Waterwheels 17:03 ▶︎ Ending 17:43 Discuss the episode on the ONLY in JAPAN DISCORD SERVER: https://discord.gg/eczNWfu it's free and fun!

  2. It's an excellent vlog… You have made such beautiful frame of natural plants and flowers….Will definitely visit this place and also the cleanest river…. Chirping of birds was so soothing… Hats off to your great great efforts to show such incredible things….

  3. 日本人とっては、結構知ってることがあるけど、知らないこともあった。

  4. The place is so peaceful and serene. Makes me want to live in the countryside. Your video editing is stunning! Keep it up!

  5. John more food recomendation pls in different city..😁😁😁 btw im using ur video for my itenary in japan.. ur recomendation its owesome… love it

  6. I love your videos! Not only do you focus on the main subject but u also show us around the place! Not a lot of youtubers take the time to show you around and give off this type of information! Thanks a lot John! 😁❤️

  7. Please what type of branches were used at the beginning when you were steaming the branches 😊 thank you

  8. great ep. as always! would love to see a ep. on what you need to do to go fishing in japan if you are a tourist? its one of my Favorite pastimes and would love to try it when i was there. things like will one licence work everywhere or do you need different ones for everywhere you go and how do you know where you can and can't go would be a huge help. thanks for the share! stay awesome my friend.

  9. Love when they show these craftsman and how they do their work 👏 Seems like a very peaceful way to make art.
    Nice to see some areas are left alone to let nature be, where I live in the USA was once rural and citrus groves is rapidly become a warehouse district.

  10. These videos have so much cultural and historical significance. In a decade or two this artisan craftsmanship may disappear and this video may end up being one of the the last documentation of it for the future generations.

  11. So can you put like a butterfly instead of just leaves and such? Just wondering cuz I feel like it would give it a pretty unique look.

  12. Broadcasting quality material here. Editing is excellent, as well as flow of the scenes. All the more astonishing when we get in mind that only one person makes all of this by himself. Congrats on a job well done, John! Always love to see your show!

  13. Yo I think your vids are awesome, I’ve been watching since I moved to Japan, unfortunately not on OG subscriber

    But you can be and OG Subscriber of me today!!!

  14. What an amazing video. I lived in japan for 10 yet and would of never guessed this was japan. Thanks for bringing this video to us

  15. I'm surprised you only have 1.1 mil subs…. you make incredible videos… always extremely well edited, very informative, and very entertaining… keep up good work John.

  16. What about a travel log on Iwo To? You make JAPAN 🇯🇵 tantalizing and a map tangible to tourism. It pops out of the world map.

  17. Sorry John, I only noticed when you replied that my question wasn't clear. When you made the washi paper you used closer and green leaves. Will those colors fade?

  18. yep.. i fell in love with japan in 1992 as a teen. almost 30 years and still i find things to admire about that country

  19. John you finally posted the video about Kochi. Thank you for showing the world how beautiful my hometown is. I am speechless that you actually went to learn how to make Washi in Ushuhara. Mr. Rogier’s daughter and I are friends from high school. Lol what a small world!

  20. His speaking sounds like its dubbed or translated. I love it. Some of the best content on Youtube. (get on the other platforms too please)

  21. Loved the video, awesome as always. Not sure why but I get the impression Roger is the kind of person that's constantly Sigh-ing?

  22. Shikoku island was by far my favourite part of my 7 week trip around japan.
    It's incredibly peaceful with beautiful scenery everywhere you look.

  23. I really loved this episode! I was looking forward to it since you did the live stream from Kochi. It was cool to see that library again, I can't get over how cozy and beautiful it looks inside. The entire Kochi area is truly pristine and tranquil. Watching the Paper Master at work was really enjoyable. Thank you so much, John, for bringing this unique art of washi making to our attention❤🇯🇵👍

  24. Hi John, how do you manage to store all your wonderful videos and not lose track of all of them? They are amazing!

  25. Your videos are superb as always John. I really enjoy watching these videos as Japan is the one place in the world I really want to visit. Keep on making some great videos. Would it be possible to do a video about the Tokusatsu industry in Japan, particularly about the Kamen Rider, Super Sentai and other costumed heroes?

  26. まさか地元くるとは思わんかった!!ありがとう!!!ありがとう😊

  27. Toyota Mark X is being discontinued December 2019…. I looked at pictures on the web of this car. Great interior, awesome body styling. Too bad it's going away…

  28. What? No vending machines in Japans Nature? Thought they are everywhere…even on top of Mount Fuji.

    Just Imagine a Ramen Vending machine on top of that mountain😛😂

  29. Hi John, love your videos. In a few years, hoping to come to Japan for a month. Wondering if there are any Christian churches. Thanks for sharing the beauty and culture of Japan.

  30. I hope you’ve received positive comments for your service at 6:09 . You know something I dont, so thank you for sharing your knowledge with me 🇩🇰

  31. You really know how to catch the greatest shots of these places you visit, John. I'm no photographer, I don't even really appreciate artsy stuff. But your photography of these locations is absolutely stunning. I don't believe that any pictures or videos can do these locations justice, but yours certainly come close. Cheers. And safehappy travels. =)

  32. Life is a surprise. A Dutch guy go to Japan to live in a small town to make, roughly speaking, "traditional Japanese paper".

  33. i love your channels man! thank you for all the hard work,hours of traveling,planing,recording,editing etc. i really appreciate it all!

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