I was surprised to find out last Friday that my very first outing as a newborn baby was visiting the cherry trees in Washington D.C. 🌸 “you don’t remember?” My dad teased…but maybe I do remember, in a way, because I’ve always been drawn to cherry blossom imagery like on this Japanese paper – did you know those famous cherry trees in our nation’s capital came from Japan?
Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries…In a simple ceremony on March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two trees from Japan on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park.
What a beautiful story! We had an enormous, 2 story tall flowering cherry tree in our yard when I lived on Cape Cod, watching the soft pink petals float down to the ground in the spring as the wind blew was so pretty. Tracking them into the house because they stuck to the bottom of your shoes wasn’t so pretty…don’t plant one right next to your front door!
Here’s me at the Chiyogami store in Tokyo called Sakura Horikiri (address 1 Chome-25-3 Yanagibashi, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0052, Japan) where I bought this paper – if you go here (or any other store that carries beautiful paper) here’s how to buy the paper: retrieve a sales associate by saying “Sumimasen” (excuse me) and then point to each of the papers that you want, indicating the number of sheets with your fingers. Good luck. It might also be a good idea to cue up a sentence on your google translate that says, “I would like to buy a lot of paper”, since I am pretty sure most people buy just 1-2 sheets at a time…not…fifty.
ALSO THEY ONLY TAKE CASH! I just about had a heart attack when they rang up my enormous $$$ order only to figure out they don’t take card – we had to find an international ATM, get the money, and then return to the store. Totally worth it though!
If you don’t want to go through this process, you can also find Chiyogami on Amazon, these packs of five letter-sized 8.5″x11″ sheets are great for small projects and are about the same price as one larger sheet.
I love the bright and vivid colors of Japanese Chiyogami paper, and unlike machine-printed decorative paper that we have here in the US, each sheet of Chiyogami is hand-printed with silkscreen techniques. That means that every color you see in the paper is a separate paint layer, including the background color, because the paper starts off white, and then each color is added one by one, drying in between each layer.
I have these listed in my etsy shop, you can see if they are still available here: Japanese Paper Journals
Here’s a video of a paper-maker creating yuzen chiyogami paper: