NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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笹岡家住宅 Sasaoka-ke-jyuutaku Sasaoka House

Jp En

Sasaoka House is an old private house located in Uda, Nara Prefecture. It is the former residence of the Sasaoka family, country samurai who governed nine villages in the Edo period.
The house was built in the Kanei period (1624-44).  The fifth house owner, Gohe, won some contest of strength and got pine trees from the domain head. He used the pines to build the house, and the pole plates, too.
The roof is thatched and half-hipped and the wall is white and unembellished. This tells us something of the atmosphere of olden times.
The large garden is well taken care of and is beautiful in spring, when the cherry trees and other shrubbery blossom.
The house has been designated as a National Important Cultural Asset, while the 24th head of the Sasaoka family still lives here and manages the house.
You need to reserve in advance to see inside.
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鈴鹿墨 Suzuka-zumi Suzuka Sumi Ink

Jp En

Suzuka sumi ink is a refined ink made from pine wood from the mountains of Suzuka. This ink is said to have originated in the early Heian period, when ink began to be made by mixing lamp black extracted from burnt pine wood with glue made from animal and fish skin.

Production of sumi ink increased during the Edo period due to increased demand. The prevalence of the use of seals by feudal lords and the dissemination of temple schools meant that many more people required ink. Some ink-producing stores even came to be economically protected by local feudal lords in exchange for a guarantee of a stable supply.

The Suzuka sumi ink mills have excellent conditions for ink-making, such as location and climate. Therefore, from the beginning of extraction, the ink is of a very good color, while the production process gives it further important characteristics, such as the balance of bleeding on contact with paper. Even now, many varieties of ink such as lamp-black ink, blue ink, and pine ink are made using traditional skills and methods like 'kata-ire-seikei'.

Suzuka sumi ink supplies some 30% of all sumi ink used in the country. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry designated Suzuka sumi ink as a Traditional Handicraft in 1980.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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