Travel Diary
Diary #8

Brushing Up on Kumano Culture

Kumano is the brush-making capital of Japan.
The quality of the calligraphy and cosmetic brushes produced in Kumano are beyond compare.
This itinerary takes you to the core of Kumano’s brush-making culture.

Fudenosato Kobo
This is the place to come if you want to learn about Kumano and brushes. The museum details everything about brushes from its history, their uses and traditional manufacturing methods. They have a number of interactive displays and regularly invite local craftsmen to demonstrate their brush-making skills inside the museum. You’ll be amazed at the scale and variety of brushes on sale in the museum shop – roughly 1,500 unique items! The museum’s centerpiece is an enormous calligraphy brush measuring 3.7 meters.

Fudenosato Kobo:
Japanese Calligraphy Experience (Tapestry)
The Fudenosato Kobo offers workshops and events giving you hands-on experience with Japanese calligraphy. In the tapestry workshop, you’ll have the chance to write with traditional calligraphy brushes and ink on a Japanese hanging scroll. You can write or draw whatever your heart desires and afterwards they let you take your masterpiece home – the perfect souvenir from Kumano. You have two practice runs before your final attempt. Slightly nerve-wracking, but great fun.

Japanese Calligraphy Experience Tapestry (Japanese):
The “Fuwa-Fuwa Natto Yaki”
Kagami is a popular okonomiyaki restaurant loved by locals. A number of years ago, the owners created a new dish called the “fuwa-fuwa natto yaki”. This has become a local speciality in its own right.

It contains fermented natto beans, eggs, yams and cheese. The term “fuwa-fuwa” means soft and it looks similar to a soufflé omelet.

Kagami (Japanese):
KOYUDO Brush Factory Tour & Brush Crafting Experience
At Koyudo, you can enjoy a guided tour around the facility and also try your hand at making your own cosmetic brush. They will even engrave the handle with your name or a word of your choice.

Koyudo have pushed the boundaries of brush making. They now create heart-shaped brushes and brushes that resemble popular anime characters. Their new bath body brush is a nationwide hit. The factory shop sells heavily discounted items, so it’s worth a visit if you’re looking for a bargain.

KOYUDO (Japanese):
Meeting Fuderin - Kumano’s Favorite Resident
This is Fuderin - Kumano’s most beloved resident and promotional mascot.
You can see posters and statues of Fuderin all over Kumano.
The Konin-onhitsu (a rare, colorful brush currently on display in the Fudenosato Kobo Museum) was the inspiration for Fuderin’s distinctive shape and coloring. Fuderin began life in 2012 and actively promotes Kumano’s brush industry and bush makers.

Fuderin (Japanese):
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