Tucked away between Shibuya, Setagaya, and Nerima, Suginami is a ward hidden inside busy Tokyo. The liberal activist area boasts all kinds of quirky experiences and interesting spots for you to discover.
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What to Experience...
Washi | Wah・Shi
Washi is made from 'kozo' mulberry plants, which are grown by Hiroko and her staff themselves. Hiroko's atelier is located near a river that provides the pure water necessary to make washi and the mountains of Saitama, where the mulberry plants grow. Traditionally, washi has been used as paper for various Japanese art forms, such as Nihonga, an ancient style of painting, as well as for more utilitarian purposes such as shoji sliding door frames. With its warmth, durability, absorbency, pliability, and transparency, washi is an extremely versatile material and'innovative uses for washi today abound in interior and graphic design, bookbinding, painting, etching, sewing, calligraphy and much more.
What to See...
Hagi Hiyoshi Shrine 萩日吉神社
The Omatsuri (festival) culture is well known in Japan and the Town of Tokigawa has not been an exception. Designated as a special natural monument by Saitama Prefecture, Hagi Hiyoshi Shrine, also known as the Forest Shrine , holds many events through the year which all reflect the traditional aspects of Japan. If you plan to travel to Tokigawa machi, it is a must to contemplate the 能 (Noh) Dance, which is a traditional theatrical performance practised since the 14th century. Lucky for you, every year in April a spectacle is held in Hagi Hiyoshi Shrine. If you’re even luckier, you might be able to catch the Yabusame (Horseback Archery) festival held every three years, to wish for protection against bad omens. The festival originated in the year 1233, by Kiso Yoshinaka.
Get your tickets here.