Paper, Tea, and Matsusaka Cotton


Matsusaka's excellent local products
spread to become nationwide brands.


The Highest Quality Paper,
Even Used for Official Currency

Fukano washi paper was among the country's highest quality Japanese paper. Created in the Fukano area of Matsusaka's Iinan Town, it was used to make "hansatsu" (the Kishu Domain's paper currency), and Japan's first postage stamps. Additionally, Ikebe Seibe used the paper to make faux leather cigarette cases, which were a huge hit with pilgrims to the Ise Grand Shrine as souvenirs. Since the Edo period, the people of Matsusaka have striven for quality, as well as useful and innovative designs.

Faux Leather: Tsuboya Paper

Gikakushi, or fake leather, is made from Japanese paper treated with oil and stencil-printed to look like leather; it was made in imitation of decorative European leather. The store Tsuboya, in the village Inagi (now Hayamazecho), sold faux leather cigarette cases that became so popular, gikakushi also became known as "Tsuboya paper."

Matsusaka Cotton

The Striped Fabric that Captivated Edo Urbanites

Matsusaka cotton is a striped fabric made with threads dyed in natural indigo. It is said Matsusaka merchants got the idea for the design based on a fabric Kadoya Shichirobe sent from Vietnam—the cloth he sent, known as "ryujofu," featured a pattern with stripes like the veins of a willow leaf. Because of laws limiting extravagance, people at the time couldn't wear showy clothing, and the affordable, durable, and beautiful Matsusaka cotton captured the hearts of Edo urbanites, and became a huge hit.

Variations of Stripes

Variations of Stripes

Thanks to the different shades of color indigo dye can produce, the possibilities for pattern variations are endless. Sample books showing different types of Matsusaka stripes were available, even during the Edo period.

Matsusaka's History with Cotton

Techniques to produce textiles have existed in the Matsusaka area from long ago, and cotton weaving began in the latter part of the Muromachi period (1336-1573). In the Edo period's "Wakan Sansai Zue" (an encyclopedia consisting of 105 volumes), Ise Province's Matsusaka cotton is described as a product of the highest quality.



Kabata Tea, Said to Have Been Offered to the Tokugawa Shogunate

Blessed with good climate and fertile soil, tea cultivation has thrived in the Ise region from long ago. It is said that Ise tea spread through Japan via Ise merchants, and high-quality tea from Kabata, cultivated in the upper reaches of the Kushida River, was offered as tribute to Tokugawa Yoshimune, the eighth shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. In the final years of the shogunate (1853-1867), tea became a highly valued export thanks to the efforts of the three brothers Takegawa Chikusai and Kokubu Nobuchika from Izawa, and Takeguchi Nobuyoshi from Chuma.

Let’s Walk Matsusaka

Weave Your Own Matsusaka Cotton

The Matsusaka Cotton Center in Honmachi offers a full experience where you can enjoy hand-weaving your own Matsusaka cotton. Of course, you're able to take home whatever you make!

Cigarette Case Sign

There used to be many stores along the road to Ise with signs advertising "Tsuboya Cigarette Cases." An authentic cigarette case sign from those days is on display at the Matsusaka City Museum of History and Folklore.