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Mino

Mino is a city known for its long history with washi paper production and merchant structures with udatsu roofs.

Mino

Mino city in Gifu Prefecture, north of Nagoya, has a long history of washi paper production dating back to the Nara Period (710-794). Not far from Mino station are two parallel streets of preserved Edo-style houses of former prosperous paper merchants complete with udatsu roofs. Udatsu are ornately-tiled firewalls attached to both ends of a dwelling's roof to prevent the spread of fire from house to house. Wealthy merchants in the town competed with each other to build ever more decorative udatsu. The Kyu-Imai Ke Jutaku is one such merchant house now opened as a museum dedicated to the art of washi production and paper-making techniques.

Mino hosts an Akari Art Exhibition in mid-October every year. Akari artwork (Japanese washi paper lanterns) presented by members of the public is lit up and exhibited along the historic streets. During the Hina Matsuri (Dolls Festival) in March many of the houses exhibit collections of Japanese dolls. Other places of interest in the Mino area are Ogura Castle in Ogura Park with good views of Mino and the Nagara River. The park is also known for its cherry blossoms in spring. Oyada Shrine has colorful maple leaves in autumn. Before the construction of a railway in the Meiji Period, Mino's paper was shipped by river and at Kawaminato on the Nagara River remains of the former river port can be seen in the shape of a wooden wharf and lighthouse.