Kasagen Oiled Paper Umbrellas

Traditional oiled paper umbrellas (wagasa) from Kyoto's oldest umbrella shop

Oiled paper umbrellas were still in use when I was a young child, and I remember being fascinated by their construction, by how they would slowly creak open and click into place (can’t do it too fast or parts would tear), and by the distinctive smell of the oiled paper. Nostalgia has me looking for a traditional oiled paper umbrella, and Kasagen (かさ源), the oldest umbrella shop in Kyoto, in business since 1861, has a fine collection. Oiled paper umbrellas that are used in the rain are known as wagasa, versus higasa, which are sun parasols and un-oiled. Both are favorites of the geisha and maiko as they go beautifully with kimonos. Kasagen’s wagasa are simple yet elegant, and come in lovely, rich colors. While I find them a little too precious to use in the rain on a regular basis, they will last several seasons if dried and cared for properly.


JPY 10,000+

Author: say1

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