Odawara-jochin is a chochin (paper lantern) made in Odawara City (Kanagawa Pref.), which was once a post station of the Tokaido Road. It is said that a local craftsman named Jinzaemon first made this type of lantern. Different from ordinary paper lanterns, Odawara lantern can be closed accordion-style because the horizontal ribs are independent of each other, so it is easily carried in the bosom of the kimono. As the ribs are flat and steadily glued to the outer paper, it is hard to come unstuck and water-proof. Also as the ribs were originally made of cedar wood that grew in the precinct of Saijoji Temple in the local mountain of Mt. Daiyuzan, it was believed that the numen of the wood protected people from being cheated by foxes and raccoons. Odawara lantern was a necessity article for travelers going along mountain paths at night. This lantern is mentioned in a nursery rhyme “Osaru-no-kagoya (a monkey palanquin bearer)” and loved by people all the time.
- Odawara City Office, 300 Ogikubo, Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, 250-8555
- Local Industry Section of Industrial Policy Division, Economy Department