Minami-Boso ~ The Spots to Taste & Experience Tradition

Last Of A Traditional Craft


The sun was setting on one of the last workshops in Tomiura-cho. Here, along with neighbors Nago and Funakata have long been fisherman towns. We introduced ourselves hoping to learn more about this workshop and their traditional craft. Mitsue Ota is a fourth-generation Boshu Uchiha craftsperson, one of the last few officially trained to practice the unique Maru-e-Uchiwa style of Japanese fan. This art was usually handed down from mothers to daughters. She graciously brought us fresh green tea before she began a demonstration in their cozy showroom. Her well-trained hands deftly began the initial stage of a detailed 24 step process of splitting, separating and organizing a hand-selected stretch of bamboo while her soothing voice spoke.
The Boshu Uchiha is one of three fan designs designated as traditional Japanese art craft. This style is now settled in Minamiboso although original workshops were clustered in Edo. Following the Great Kantō earthquake that shook Japan in September 1923, burning most of the wholesalers in Horie-cho, Nihonbashi, Tokyo, the Edo craftsmen relocated to the source of their key material. Formerly known as the Awa no kuni region, here specialists choose pieces of two to four-year-old female bamboo during the winter months. It is said to be the country’s best. Today about 20,000 Boshu uchiwa are made a year, mainly for interior ornaments or gifts. In 2003 it was designated a traditional art craft by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Oota san continues shaping each split to equal size, steadily carving and smoothing. Even the best strive to maintain quality by not making more than 5 fans a day. She shares the tale of what brought her into this uniquely shaped fan fashioned of bamboo of old-fashioned paper with crepe and yukata over 60 years ago. Housewives of fishermen made use of their time and skills while their husbands were roaming the sea. Today, there are only three or four workshops remaining. They still seek an apprentice to carry on this endangered traditional craft of Chiba.

1193 Tada Ryo, Tomiuracho, Minamiboso, Chiba 299-2404, Japan

📞0470-33-2792 Please contact us in advance


To learn more about this designated traditional art craft, search Boshu Uchiwa Promotion Committee
or visit www.bosyu-uchiwa.com


Hyakusho Yashiki Jiroemu

Are you ready to step into living history? Is how your food is grown as important as its taste? Jiroemu offers you a slice of Bōsō history in its purest form. When fireflies returned to the evening sky after years of absence, Inaba Yoshikazu and Inaba Syoko realized just how big an impact practicing organic methods have. Excited to share this news with others they opened their 300-year-old traditional country manor located in Yamana, Minamiboso to visitors.
If you love to experience things at their most authentic, how can you do better than the source? Here you can gift your taste buds an all-organic classically crafted rural farmer’s meal. Grown on-site, they practice rearing methods that nurture delicious organic rice, vegetables and animals. You select from daily “Jiroemu Set Meals” that vary in price depending on the number of dishes. The seasonality of produce adds variety to the menus they create daily. The basic idea is to eat as farmers did when fireflies, honeybees and dragonflies were delights to be experienced.
On your next visit to Japan, get out into nature and be sure to call ahead to make your reservation for Jiroemu.

They serve a traditional rural farmer’s cooking the likes of which even most Japanese haven’t seen.

Yamana 2011, Minamiboso City, Chiba Prefecture




Tateyama Castle

Peaking out of Shiroyama Park’s hilltop is one of four castles of Chiba, Tateyama Castle. Erected in the late 15th century, the Satomi clan secured this region for 170 years. It was the final stronghold for the clan’s 9th and 10th generations. This current donjon, or keep, was erected in 1982. On a perfect day you may catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji. But every day you can feast your eyes on a captivating 360° view of Minamiboso flowing into the Pacific Ocean. Opt to have two ninja clad fellows deliver you from the parking lot to the hilltop entrance, or walk as most would have.

Within the castle, also called Hakkenden Museum (Legend of the Eight Dog warriors) is an exhibition dedicated to Takizawa Bakin’s epic novel, “Nanso Satomi Hakkenden.” Items on display share the expansive history of the novel’s use in theatre, television, manga and other media from Edo times to the present day. Taking photos inside is restricted to only a couple displays you can pose with. A visit on Sunday or holidays unlocks the opportunity to experience what a shogun in battle armor felt. This highlight can be preserved in photos for you to make all your friends jealous.

351-2 Tateyama, Tateyama-shi, Chiba

Adult: 400 YEN
Children: 200 YEN




Steady Cultivating A Dream

Like many cultures, the Japanese have had a long-standing loving relationship with textiles. Working with your hands directly with our environment has become, for many, a memory at best and unthinkable at worst. Keizo Omori continues our ancient love affair with his project Kocon Works. His appreciation for the entire process has led him to return to his hometown of Tateyama and launch “KUZIRA.”

After several years working in the printing industry he became fed up with the overreliance on potent chemicals. Today he dedicates himself to all aspects of what goes into making bespoke bags, shawls, and other items of a more experimental nature. He also offers a wide array of dyeing, aging and repair services as well as workshops, and even hand drawing. Particular about sourcing materials derived naturally, he decided to begin learning to do it for himself. Of particular interest for him has been reviving a concept he calls “colors of ancient with modern dyes from local fields.” Keizo has procured seeds of indigo, cotton and other plants, growing them in an abandoned farm plot near his atelier. His dream is to become a self-sufficient artisan. Your visit to Chiba is incomplete until you’ve met Keizo. Learn more at his website or Instagram.

240-8 Takai, Tateyama City, Chiba Prefecture


✉ kocon@nifty.com