“Iyo bamboo wrapped with Tosa paper, and Awa dance with a Sanuki uchiwa makes you feel cool.”
A poem describing perfectly how uchiwa fans are made using Shikoku prefectural names is carved on a stone monument in front of the Marugame Castle mound. Marugame city in Kagawa prefecture enjoys an unbelievable 90% share of all uchiwa fan manufacturing within Japan! This time we will introduce an experience befitting Japan’s No.1 town for uchiwa.
We visited Uchiwa Kobo Take (Uchiwa workshop Take) located at the foot of Marugame Castle. Here, you can see a master of this traditional craft at work, and also experience making one yourself for JPY800 per person. Let’s take a peek at how to create your very own, one-of-a-kind uchiwa!
Part 1: Splitting (Waki)
This is where the bamboo, which forms the frame of the uchiwa fan, is split according to its fibers. It makes a nice sound as it splits.
Part 2: Rubbing (Momioroshi)
The bamboo is then rubbed well and split all the way to the knot. This may be difficult for a first-timer, so let’s take a look at how a pro does it.
Part 3: Glueing (Haritate)
Glue is applied to the completed frame. It’s easy, even for a child. And then today’s main event begins!
You lay a paper with your preferred pattern onto the glue. We chose a festival themed pattern perfect for the season when uchiwa fan are used. Without even thinking, my son’s expression becomes serious.
Though there are other uchiwa making stages, such as cutting it into shape, etc., this time we’ve only introduced a selection of stages.
As it can take up to 1 hour for the glue to dry, we take a walk to the castle while waiting.
Marugame Castle, one of only 12 original castle keeps left in Japan (https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/764), is well-known for its stone walls, which are the highest in the country. From the uppermost stairs that lead to the castle you have a view over the beautiful Sanuki Fuji (Mt. Iino) as well as the Great Seto Bridge, among other sights.
Having enjoyed the view from the keep, an hour went by before we even noticed, we head back to the workshop….
Ta-dah! Finally we have our own unique uchiwa fans! After finishing, your fan should be left to dry for at least an evening. I look forward to trying mine out the following day.
What did you think of the unique uchiwa fan making process? If you visit Marugame, do give it a try!
Uchiwa Kobo Take
Location: (Within the Marugame castle grounds) Ichiban-cho, Marugame city, Kagawa prefecture
Closed: Wednesdays (Closed on Thursday if Wednesday is a national holiday), New Year’s Holidays
Uchiwa making experience fees: JPY800 (an advance telephone advance reservation will make your visit smoother)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Furukawa
Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!
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