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Japan using traditional techniques to make products of global standards

News Agencies | Updated on: 22 June 2017, 18:19 IST

Come spring and the worlds' most beautiful wisteria can be found blooming in Japan's Tochigi Prefecture.

This beautiful and dreamy fantasy attracts people to Tochigi, which is also known for its industries.

There are companies that process leather materials that have been highly praised at home and throughout the world.

Keeping to the natural texture of the leather and the confines of industrial efficiency and largely mechanization, the vegetable tanning process is done in pit tanks with 160 different concentrations of vegetable tannins and pickled.

It prevents rot and allows vegetable tannins to penetrate the leather evenly.

It takes a long time and the leather is tanned carefully so as not to disturb the fiber of the leather.

After applying several dozen processes to the leather, including natural air-drying, it takes about a half year to complete the tanning of the leather.

To assure quality, these craftsmen put their hearts into their work with no effort to spare.

Masakuni Yamamoto, President, Tochigi Leather Co.Ltd, said, "We have always aimed our work to be suitable for use in human life. Particularly, aging changes in the characteristics of our leather. Do the characteristics of the leather continue to stand out the more you use it? What will you do if the leather turns out like this? Thus, we defend technology innovation to prevent leather sag, while protecting the traditional processing of tanning."

These leather makers use a few hundred tons of water a day for tanning the leather.

At Tochigi Leather, it has set up large-scale drainage facility to perform water purification and then release the water into the river.

Yamamoto further said,"Because we take great pains to produce the natural texture of the leather, we use bacteria and enzymes to process water in a natural way. We have been working to purify water without chemicals. Since our mission is to clean water, we are trying to do it."

Located to the north of Tokyo lies Tochigi prefecture, a tourist and resorts destination, including Nikko and Nasu, and produces the largest volume of strawberries in the prefecture.

From June to August 2017, All Nippon Airways group's domestic and international initiative "Tastes of Japan by ANA" will feature in Tochigi prefecture for three months.

ANA will introduce the culture and tourist attractions of Tochigi prefecture, including special delicacies and sweets that sell on ANA flights and at airport lounges, airport stores, mail order sites, and other sales outlets, in an effort to revitalize the region and appeal to Japanese and foreign visitors.

This ANA's Original Parfait-Kitakanto Tochigi consists of milk ice cream made with premium milk produced in the Nasu Highlands, scoops of sherbet made from a lemon-flavored lactic drink "Kanto Tochigi Lemon", and butter cake containing Tochiotome strawberries, topped with gyoza-dumpling wrappers baked to a crisp in the oven.

Utsunomiya city, where the prefectural government is located, is famous for Japanese gyoza dumplings or pot stickers.

Tomoko Sugaya, an official with the All Nippon Airways Co.Ltd., said, "If you do visit Tokyo, please take a trip to Tochigi Prefecture to enjoy the beautiful sights of the prefecture. Since you are already in Tokyo, I would like to tell you more about the wonderful sightseeing and cultural attractions nearby."

The blistering summer and severe cold winter temperatures, day and night, make Tochigi prefectural the natural environment for growing strawberries.

The "tochitome" strawberry variety was cultivated in Tochigi in 1996.

The goal was to create a large strawberry that kept a strong sweet taste. At present, the growing of strawberries in Tochigi comprises one-third of the area of strawberry production in Japan.

Takashi Ohashi, a senior researcher at the Strawberry Research Laboratory, said, "Twenty years have passed since the introduction of the tochitome strawberry, and even today we are proud of this strawberry variety representing Japan."

Shinji Kurita, a strawberry farm owner, said, "As Tochigi Prefecture is close to Tokyo and only one hour by bullet train, even a one-day trip to this strawberry kingdom will entice you to enjoy the sweetest strawberries of Japan."

On these wings, the charm and attractiveness of regions throughout Japan seem likely to grow.


First published: 22 June 2017, 18:19 IST