Former Matsuhisa Residence
The former Matsuhisa Seijiro residence, which was a material sales company for Mino washi paper, is a Sukiya-style house built over 100 years ago. The commitment as a tea master can be seen everywhere, and by inviting and entertaining people, you can feel the richness and spirit of the paper industry at that time.
Twelve rooms, a tea room, a Japanese garden, and four storehouses are all selected as important traditional buildings of the country.
As one of the national projects to protect Japanese tradition and culture, Matsushita House was renovated to contribute to the worldwide spread of Mino Washi.
Currently, the Mino washi paper & “Kaishi” specialty shop, a cafe and the hotel “Nipponoa” have business in the old storehouse of Matsuhisa residence.
Washi-nary & Kaishi Speciality Shop
“Washi-nary” is produced by Maruju (丸重製紙企業組合), which is the specialty shop and dealer for Mino washi paper.
As the concept of revitalizing Mino city and Mino washi paper, “Washi-nary” is opened its door for customers and visitors.
To proceed the dark, narrow, cool hall way in the storehouse, you can find “Washi-nary”.
By the way, “Washi-nary” is a coined word from “winery”. Like a winery, the shop handles various types of Mino Japanese paper, and experts give advice like a sommelier.
You can forget time just looking sensitive designed Mino washi paper.
At the upstairs, there is a display of “Kaishi”.
“Kaishi (懐紙)” means a “pocket paper” used like a handkerchief or note pad, which is from one of the Japanese traditions. Kaishi have been traditionally used for the tea ceremony to wipe the rim of the tea bowl, to clean fingers, or as a “plate” for wagashi. Today, not so many people carry Kaishi in daily life, but modern designs have been producing for other usages, such as letter notes.
Marujyu also provide unique Kaishi that you can find only here.
Find Kawaii Mino Washi Paper Items Shopping At Shiyu
If you are looking for Kawaii Japanese gifts, “Shiyu” is also your place.
Furukawashiko (古川紙工) founded in 1835 has been distributing Mino Washi paper nationwide and manages “Shiyu” (紙遊) which sells varieties of Mino washi paper items. The 70-year-old paper warehouse is filled with colorful Mino Japanese paper goods.
As changing generations, the situation to use washi paper has been decreased, and also craftsmen have been in danger of keeping the 1300-years beautiful tradition.
In these companies, it has been keeping their effort to protect washi paper by adjusting original washi styles to modern styles.
Today, Shiyu offers a number of “kawaii” designs that are more familiar to the younger generation. From traditional to modern, you’ll find unique items such as letter pads and accessories.
Coffee Break At Happa Cafe; Taste Hojicha Latte
Just across “Shiyu” (紙遊), have a break at “HAPPA STAND”(はっぱスタンド).
The 150 years house is renovated for the stylish Japanese green tea specificity cafe, “HAPPA STAND” has been popular since opened in 2017.
Feel classical and modern atmosphere, enjoy carefully selected green tea drinks and sweets.
Especially, “Houji cha Latte” (ほうじ茶ラテ) is the most popular menu here.
About Houji Cha
“Houjicha” (ほうじ茶) is a tea that Bancha (tea after new Shincha tea ) or Sencha, and also Kukicha (used stems) are roasted over high heat to bring out a unique aroma and flavor. The tea leaves are dark brown and have a unique roasted flavor. It’s kids-safely due to less caffeine and tannins.
“Hojicha Latte” became the staple drink menu in Japan, even you can buy Hojicha Latte at Starbucks in Japan.
Personally, I like “Houjicha Latte” rather than “Matcha Latte” because it is smooth and no off-flavor.
Hike In Ogura Park
“Ogura Park” (小倉公園) is the relaxation place for the locals.
Enjoy walking in the peaceful park, and also hike up to the “Japanese castle”-like observatory overlooking the Nagara River (the representative river in Gifu prefecture) and the Udatsu No Agaru district.
In spring, you can also enjoy about 1,000 cherry blossoms blooming.
The Next Photogenic Spot??? Old Meitetsu Mino Station
The old Meitetsu Mino Station is a memorial hall that preserves the terminal section of the Minomachi Line which was abolished in 1999. The station building has been around for about 90 years since it was built as Kozuchi Station opened in 1911.
To me, this old local station is a really interesting and nostalgic spot to remind my childhood in Gifu. There are three old model tram cars displayed. It’s free to take pictures inside of the old model of local trains.
The old station is located on the way to Udatsu historical district from Ngara Railway “Mino city station”, I want you to spend little time for Japanese nostalgic photos.
Mino city is not a big city and not a luxury sightseeing city compared other popular spots in Japan.
In other words, the city is calm, quiet and still lots of things to do.
Especially, you can learn about precious Mino washi paper in only Mino city area.
Because of the historical the city of merchants since ancient years, local people are so friendly and so nice, also I am very impressed that young owners’ passions to contribute protecting the tradition and the city.
Also, enjoy the great nature in Gifu.
HAPPA STAND handles “Matcha” green tea products from Uji area, but do you know another popular production in Aichi prefecture bordered with Gifu prefecture???
If you like visiting suburbs, Nishio city is one of the places for “Matcha” green tea lovers.