Another example of the craftsmanship in Central Japan is Washi, or Japanese hand milled paper, known for its unique texture and durability. Of the three major production centre of Washi, two can be found within the region; Mino in Gifu Prefecture and Echizen in Fukui Prefecture.
Made from fibers extracted from plants, its virtue has been known to European artists as early as the mid-17th Century, counting Rembrandt as one of its prominent patrons. He used the imported paper mostly for his etching work. There is a strong argument that one type of the Japanese paper Rembrandt used was the Echizen.
The Central Japan area has long functioned as a centre of agricultural and industrial production, supplying foods and goods to then capital Kyoto. Bureaucrats, as well as monks in Kyoto and beyond craved for high quality paper, thus stimulating the development of the paper milling industry in Central Japan.
The Echizen Washi is known for its versatile technique. Watermarking was one of its specialty as well as its durability. These characteristic led to the usage of the Echizen as the paper for printing bills in Japan until 1951.
The Mino Washi has 1300 years of history. Its oldest example is the paper used for recording a family register dated AD 702, still preserved in the Shosoin Repository of the Imperial Household Agency. Mino paper has been praised for the evenness of its texture, as well as its thinness.