What is Tosa washi?

What is Tosa washi?

Nestled amidst the verdant mountains and rivers of Kochi Prefecture, Tosa Washi stands as a testament to the resilience and strength of traditional Japanese papermaking. Renowned alongside Echizen Washi of Fukui Prefecture and Mino Washi of Gifu Prefecture, Tosa Washi is celebrated as one of Japan's three finest washi types. The region's abundance of high-quality limestone and other raw materials, coupled with an ample supply of pristine water, has fueled its growth and development. Tosa Washi is distinguished by its wide variety and exceptional quality, primarily crafted from kozo (paper mulberry), mitsumata, and gampi fibers. The long, entwining fibers of Tosa's kozo, especially harvested from the mountainous areas, allow for the creation of thin yet exceptionally durable paper.

  Designated as Kochi Prefecture's Intangible Cultural Properties, Tosa Tengujoshi (used for cultural heritage restoration) and Tosa Seichoshi (used for calligraphy) are both made from kozo. Despite their differing thicknesses, both are globally recognized for their robustness and durability. In 1976, Kochi’s handcrafted washi was officially designated as Tosa Washi, a traditional craft by the Japanese government.


The process of making Tosa Washi involves using the pure waters of the Niyodo and Shimanto Rivers to craft paper that reflects the natural beauty of Tosa—from the heavily textured papers to the fine, lightweight Tengujoshi, each sheet encapsulates the essence of Tosa’s wilderness. The touch of these papers conveys the heartfelt dedication of the artisans, making Tosa Washi a cherished element in everyday life.

The illustrious history of Tosa Washi stretches back over a millennium, first documented in 927 during the Heian period in the Engishiki, an ancient Japanese statute, as a major paper-producing region. Notably encouraged by the esteemed scholar Tsurayuki Kino during his tenure as governor, the legacy of Tosa Washi was further enriched during the Sengoku period with the development of Tosa Nanairogami, a colorful dyed paper, in Ino Town, Nariyama. This paper was protected as a tribute to the shogunate from the Tosa domain, significantly enhancing its renown.

We also offer fans made with Tosa Japanese paper in our Marugame collection. We hope you experience the essence of Tosa Washi, a treasured Japanese heritage.