On my way to Kamikoya, I stopped to visit the Ino Paper Museum


I flew from Tokyo’s Haneda airport to Kochi, heading to Kamikoya, where I had scheduled a three-day private course in Japanese papermaking. I had decided to spend one night in Kochi in order to visit the Ino Paper Museum. To get to Ino, a small town on the outskirts of Kochi, I took what looked like a tram car straight out of the 1950’s – a startling contrast to Tokyo, where nothing seems to be more than 10 years old!

The ride takes about 30 minutes and you get off at the last stop, walk to the end of the road and follow the signs to an impressive black-tile roofed building. Even if there is no information in English, the museum is definitely worth the visit. As I was preparing to leave, a woman approached me and started a conversation in English. Happy to find I was from Canada, she told me she lived in Edmonton and Calgary for over 10 years, reluctantly returning  to Japan only recently, to care for her aging parents. Her job was translating all the information panels into English; she asked if I wouldn’t mind checking her translations in a couple of places where she was unsure. So, there you go, my own small contribution to furthering the knowledge of Japanese paper for future fellow travelers.

As I headed back to find the tram to return to Kochi, I wondered where exactly I would find it. I remembered only that it had just stopped and I couldn’t recall seeing tracks leading to where it could turn around. The mystery was soon solved – no problem there!  I waited and watched as the train pulled into the stop. The driver turned off the engine and jumped out onto the boarding area. He walked towards the back of the train, opened the door and jumped in to whole set of other controls; he started that engine. We all climbed abord and away we went back to Kochi!