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Yokohata Kougei Woodcraft Gallery

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Yokohata Kougei Woodcraft Gallery

 

Meet a master of Togouchi kurimono, a centuries-old woodworking craft

Akiota City Management Inc.

 

 

The last of its kind in Akiota, Hiroshima Prefecture, the Yokohata Kougei workshop specializes in Togouchi kurimono, a hand wood-hollowing technique used to make daily utensils and other small objects.

 

Akiota, an area abundant with forests, was once a supplier of lumber for craftspeople in Miyajima. Then known as Togouchi, it became a new home to Miyajima craftspeople preferring to work closer to the wood source during the Taisho Era (1912-26).

 

The craft of wood hollowing flourished in Togouchi until mass production of metal and plastic utensils led to its decline. Togouchi kurimono master craftsman Fumio Yokohata recalls that just 70 years ago, there were 40 specialists in Akiota.

 

Now, his workshop is the last remaining in Akiota. Meet Fumio and other craftspeople at Yokohata Kougei, which always welcomes visitors, and learn about the handmade tools of the trade. The workshop’s unique signature item is the Fuji Otama, a wooden ladle that’s considered lucky because it always bobs to the surface when placed in a bowl of soup. For the more creative visitor, spoon making workshops taught by a master are also available.

 

How to get there

 

One hour by car from Hiroshima Station or Hiroshima Airport.

 

 

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