Mino is located in the center of Gifu Prefecture, which means the center of Japan.
The central part of the city has an honorable origin and is a historical preservation district, which is well-known as “the city of Udatsu-style houses”. Buildings and merchant family houses, which were built in Edo and Meiji Period, are standing side by side in order. What lies behind the city’s past prosperity is Washi (Japanese paper) industry.
Washi-making (Japanese paper making) began before Nara Period with bless of high quality raw materials and clear springs. As Mino Paper (Mino Washi) had been assigned as shogunal paper in Edo Period, merchants who achieved wealth and prosperity proudly built their unique tradesmen’s houses.
Mino - facing Japan’s famous water Nagara River and being surrounded by rich green mountains – is still a pleasurable place with gift of abundant nature and transient seasons.
Among traditional Washi (Japanese paper), Mino Paper (Mino Washi) made in Mino excels in its beauty and grace.
The oldest existing document, which making date is certain, is the census registration form (702A.D.) stored in Shosoin. Besides several types of Washi (Japanese paper) made in different regions have been preserved, Mino Paper (Mino Washi) has achieved the excellence in terms of evenness of intertwined fibers. The history of Mino Paper (Mino Washi) extends back to before Nara Period, and Mino has been the leading producer of Washi (Japanese paper) though out the Middle Ages, the Early Modern Period, and present age.
Moreover, its high techniques remain intact as Washi (Japanese paper) from different district of Mino traditionally assigned in book paper, art paper, paper template base, decorating paper, mimeograph base, and so on. Clear water, which is essential to paper making, is received from Nagara River and Itadori River, and high quality raw materials such as paper mulberries and diplomorpha sikokiana were growing plentifully in the region. In the record, there were 5000 paper-making houses at its peak.
Mino Paper (Mino Washi) is characterized in warm rich colors, as well as in its strength from fibers orderly intertwined. Gifu lantern, Gifu paper fan, and Gifu Japanese umbrella, known in nationwide, are also the craft products of Mino Paper (Mino Washi).