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[Activity] Paper Lamp! Make your own using Gassan paper


Gassan Japanese paper is named after the sacred Mt. Gassan of Yamagata and has a history of more than 400 years. You can make your own paper lamp through a workshop in Nishikawa Town, home of the Gassan Japanese paper.

Even beginners can try themselves at making lamps with ease. And you can enjoy a full-course meal of local dishes and the local hot springs too (^-^)

1. Gassan Japanese Paper

Gassan Japanese paper is named after the sacred mountain of Yamagata Mt. Gassan and has a history of more than 400 years.

The original lamps made from the Gassan Japanese paper are made by the Gassan Japanese paper light artist Mayumi Seino.
After going on to school and getting a job in Tokyo, she started production activities in 2000 at her parents’ long-established inn Sendaiya (Shizu Onsen, Nishikawa Town, Yamagata Prefecture).

Now started making lamps with Gassan Japanese paper, which was a new challenge for her.
It seems that after repeated trial and error without a clear technique she achieved the current technique that anyone can easily apply.

The warm texture unique to Gassan Japanese paper and the gentle light that spreads vaguely create a fantastic and calm world.

Seino-san works can also be purchased at souvenir shops in the prefecture.
This (pictured below) is the sales corner of the Souvenir Shop Shobido on the 2nd floor of the Yamagata Station Building S-PAL Yamagata.

Please go take a look if you are in the Yamagata Station area (^-^)

2. Making a lamp with Gassan Japanese paper (Part 1)

This time, I visited the long-established inn Ryokan Sendaiya in Shizu Onsen in Nishikawa Town, Yamagata Prefecture.
It is also Seino-san parents’ home.

A blizzard that looks like it’s snowing sideways on this day!
It is a hot spring town located in one of the heaviest snowfall areas in Yamagata, with the surrounding snowfall exceeding 4,5 meters.

By the way, here (pictured below) is the parking lot at Sendai-ya.
I am overwhelmed by the snow cover…

However, when I passed through the entrance door, I found a warm space with a nostalgic feeling like another world.

The hearth lobby right next door.
This is the experience space this time.
* The work space may change depending on the number of participants.

Check here the lamp-making experience set.

The main Gassan Japanese paper, hemp string, dried flowers, starch seaweed, etc. are all things that even a clumsy writer can handle, so I’m relieved (^-^)
The teacher, Seino-san, will sit where the green balloon is and me at the orange balloon.

The main flow is as follows!

① Cut the Gassan Japanese paper into pieces.
② Paste the shredded Japanese paper on the balloon with seaweed to make a base.
③ Insert a line with twine.
④ Add a pattern with dried flowers.
⑤ Finish before drying.
⑥ Dry.
⑦ Do the finishing work.

Techniques that the teacher has devised through trial and error are incorporated everywhere so that even beginners can work.

Please be assured that the teacher will give a lecture on each work as appropriate (^-^)

It’s been about an hour and a half since I started working…

The work before drying is completed!
Can you see the reddish lines here and there?

This is a safflower petal of the flower of Yamagata prefecture.
I’ve never seen Japanese paper with safflower embedded in it.
I will introduce the finished product later, but the effect is already outstanding!

Through the experience, I felt that the talk with the teacher was one of the great attractions.

I met her for the first time, but I can’t stop talking about her friendly and gentle personality (^-^)

Gassan Japanese paper, how she got involved in making lamps, the history of the Sendaiya inn, stories of her childhood, living in Shizu Onsen, etc.

Since we both moved to Tokyo and then to Yamagata, there was a lot of exciting talk about Tokyo (^-^)

3. Have a blissful time with delicious mountain village dishes and hot springs

By the way, the “Gassan Japanese paper light making experience” introduced this time takes a little time for the work to dry, but this waiting time is also a series of happiness (≧-≦)!

Drying started around noon, and I had to wait until around 15:00, but it was really quick!
* Drying time required varies depending on the number of participants and the weather on the day.
I would like to introduce each one!

① Meal using local ingredients luxuriously

Let’s start with the popular dishes at Ryokan Sendaiya!
I was guided to my room and was waiting for this scene…

I’m so happy that I can enjoy such a wonderful dish after such a fun experience (T ^ T).

Ryokan Sendaiya says, “I hope you will be refreshed from the inside and outside of your body with meals.”
Mainly mountain vegetables harvested in the surrounding area, handmade dishes are lined up.

What’s more, there was something like this set up next to me…

Mushroom hot pot!
There are plenty of locally harvested mushrooms such maitake, nameko, shimeji, shiitake, etc. (≧-≦).
There were duck meat balls in the center!
There were a lot of mushrooms but owner said: “Mushroom hot pot is one of the pride of the hotel, but I am very sorry that the variety and quantity are small because it is winter.”

What (゚ д ゚)! ??

It was really the most shocking thing that day (laughs)
What will happen in autumn at its peak (^-^)

Another thing is the wonderful commitment of the inn Sendai-ya.
Please see here.

Can you see that there are more items than the first photo?
About 4 to 5 dishes were brought in.
You can have warm dishes while they are warm and the cold ones cold (^-^)

The first thing I would like you to try is this “fried char”.

You get the whole fish including the head.
At first, I was a little reluctant, but when I bite it from my head, it was delicious with a fragrant aroma and a crunchy texture.

This is rice cooked with freshly cooked maitake mushrooms.

The flavor and gentle seasoning of maitake mushrooms were an exquisite gem.
I would like you to have a bowl already.

Miso soup of wild boar meat.

It was the first wild boar meat I had in my life, but it has a texture and taste similar to pork.
It was delicious regardless of the rumors I had heard about wild boar meat (^-^)

The quality of other dishes is of the highest level too!

I was also able to experience the happiness of having more appetite while eating.

The mushroom hot pot is quite a dish!

What can I say?
To be honest, I was worried about whether I could eat it, but it was too delicious and I ate it completely (^-^)
Even as I write this article, my mouth is salivating just by looking at the photo.

At last, the crème brûlée for dessert was also excellent (^-^)

② Relax with hot water for beautiful skin

After your meal, relax in the hot springs that Ryokan Sendaiya is proud of!

This is a sodium-chloride spring that is said to be hot water for beautiful skin.
The snowy Mt. Gassan, the comfortable feeling of fatigue after being absorbed in the work, and the body satisfied with the excellent food.
The hot springs that you can enjoy under these conditions were just paradise (^-^)

4. Making lights with Gassan Japanese paper (Part 2)

When I was soaking in the hot springs and spending a paradise time in the room, I was informed that the work had dried around 15:00.
* Drying time required varies depending on the number of participants and the weather on the day.

Your stomach and soul will be full and you will be more motivated than in the morning!

The work of removing the balloon under the Japanese paper…
Be careful not to tear it…

There are some points that the teacher devised in this work as well!
I inadvertently muttered “Hey ~” (^-^)
Please try it by all means (^-^)

About 20 minutes from the start of work in the second half…
The Gassan Japanese paper lamp is completed!

This alone is not enough to convey the charm (^-^)
After this, I will actually set the lighting device.

5. Handmade lamp of Gassan Japanese paper (completed)

Please take a look here!

I made the one on the left (^-^)
I can say it myself, it feels good!

“One of the attractions is that even beginners can easily create beautiful works (^-^)” says Seino-san.

If you look closely, there are some differences in the fine finish from Seino-san’s work, but that is  part of the originality of your work!
If you want to decorate your home you soon become attached to it!

The accents of safflowers scattered here and there are also irresistible!
Seino-san said that “This angle is cute! The design here is wonderful!”

By the way, the lighting device is also included in the activity fee, so you can use your lamp from the day you create it (^-^)

6. Click here for Activities

Detailed information

Experience making lamp with Gassan Japanese paper in Nishikawa Town, Yamagata [Seasonal mountain village dishes and hot springs included!]

Experience making lamp with Gassan Japanese paper in Nishikawa Town, Yamagata [Seasonal mountain village dishes and hot springs included!]

22 Shizu, Nishikawa Town, Yamagata Prefecture
(Approximately 25 minutes by car from Nishikawa IC)

7. Message from Mayumi Seino

Mayumi Seino gave a message to everyone who viewed VISIT YAMAGATA!

“While enjoying the firmness and fluffiness of Gassan Japanese paper,
Please come to Mt. Gassan to make your own original lamp.

We are waiting for you with seasonal dishes.”

The Gassan Japanese paper lamp making experience will satisfy your mind, stomach and body.
Please spend a blissful time (^-^)

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