Oto Village (presently Oto-cho, Gojo City) in Nara Pref. used to be a village of woodcraftsmen. They were making cooking spoons with which to scoop Cha-gayu (tea gruel), the specialty cuisine of Yamato District. Yoshino District was covered with huge primitive forests and there were plenty of chestnut trees. In the making of Ototsubo cooking spoons, first a chestnut tree is cut in round slices, then, a slice is cut again into a block, which is carved to form a rough shape of a spoon. After that, the inner part of “tubo (the scooping part)” is carved out to form a hollow and the handle part is scarped. This spoon is very durable, and after it is used for some time, the wood takes on brilliant amber color and increases its charm. Although Ototsubo chestnut spoons had been favored because of its durability and water proofing property, the demand rapidly decreased after the World War II and they have been replaced by metal or plastic products. The number of craftsmen decreased accordingly and at the present time, there is only one craftsman, Mr. Kaoru Atarashi, who is engaged in this craft. However, his products were introduced in a woman’s magazine and have been attracted the attention of a certain number of people who love handmade products. Mr. Atarashi has been maintaining the tradition of the craft still now.
- Otou-cho, Gojo, Nara Prefecture
- Chestnut Woodwork, Ototsubo Cooking Spoon