An intricate art

Bamboo Fan Making

marugame city, kagawa prefecture, visitwestjapan
Photographer | Takuma Kimura

 

Handheld non-folding fans (uchiwa in Japanese) are recognizable just about anywhere in the world as implements for cooling the body. Their uniqueness comes from the individual cultures that produced them, stamping a particular sensibility onto the object.

The Japanese rigid fan or uchiwa has its origins in China, where they would serve the dual purpose of depicting marvelous scenes across the countryside. In Japan, the fan became one of the most common and affordable utilitarian tools.

Bamboo became the material of choice for constructing the frames of the fans. Incredibly durable, yet flexible, it continues to be highly prized.

It is pretty easy to argue that anything is better when it is handmade and fans are no exception.  The art form that has developed from this everyday item is astonishing. The patience demonstrated by artisans and the dexterity of their hand movements is amazing. They have truly developed a personal relationship with the bamboo.

Marugame happens to be where most of the rigid bamboo fans in Japan are made. In fact, Kagawa has distinguished itself has a center for the promotion of this Japanese traditional art form. This may be due to two factors. One is that the prefecture lies on the Seto Inland Sea and was part of an important trade route. Trade is often accompanied by cultural exchange, which new skills and techniques.

The other quality that has aided Kagawa in its rise as an artistic center is the overall spiritual importance of the island of Shikoku. With almost innumerable temples and shrines and its world famous 88 Temple Pilgrimage, artisanship was encouraged as a revenue source even in ancient times.

The bamboo fan of today comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. It is both a work of art and a practical item for everyday use.

Access: The Uchiwa-no-minato Museum is about a 15-minute walk from JR Marugame Station.

Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee