Friday, June 12, 2009


This is a Japanese ink stone which is called "Suzuri 硯" and my father sometimes uses it. In Yamanashi, there is a famous place of its production. It is Amehata[or Amahata] 雨畑.

Amehata is in Hayakawa-chō 早川町 and takes about 1 hour from Minobu station 身延駅 by bus(only twice daily).

View Amehata Suzuri 雨畑硯 on Google My Maps

Amehata's history dates to Kamakura period. According to legend, in 1297, when Nichirō-shōnin 日朗上人, disciple of Nichiren-daishōnin 日蓮大上人(*daishōnin means a great sage) & one of The Six Elder Priests 日蓮六老僧, reached Amehata to erect a temple at Mt.Shichimenzan 七面山 by order of Nichiren, he accidentally discovered a blue and black stone at upstream of Amehata river and said an ink stone of fine quality would be made of the stone. The Amehata inkstone's full-scale production started under license of Shōguns 将軍 from one period of Edo era. In Meiji period, Association on manufacture & distribution of Amehata's inkstone was set up. According to data at that time, there were more than 90 artisans of inkstone in Amehata. But we have reduced the chance of using an ink stone & brush in our daily life and the number of them has also reduced. Currently there is only one person who works in Amehata.

Because the Amehata's stone is very close-grained, it is ideal for grinding an ink-cake[inkstick] 墨. The stone is mined from caves, near Mt.Inamata 稲又山, at upstream of the Amehata river.

Amehata suzuri costs from about a thousand yen to over 10 hundred thousand yen.

Hirao Bunmeido's shopping site (You can buy some Amehata inkstones which are basic or standard models and comparatively-inexpensive)
Live Camera at Shichimenzan by Fujigoko.TV (On a sunny day, you might be able to see Mt.Fuji)

・Photo Album "Shichimenzan 七面山 " on フォト蔵 by りんたん

Reference data : Kenshōan 硯匠庵's site & Shichimenzan Okunoin 七面山奥之院's site (Japanese versions only)

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