All of our products are made of high quality wild grapevines which grow naturally in the area surrounding Mt.Hotaka, Mt.Sukai, and Mt.akagi in GUNMA prefecture.
Wild grapevines which grow deep in the mountains become thick and strong in the harsh environment.

1. Where the wild grapevines grow

Wild grapevines are enduring plants growing almost anywhere within a forest even in winter months. They however cannot survive around other vines, they will intertwine and die. But, in the right environment grapevines will easily thrive branching off in any direction when the need arises. This leads to more robust thicker vines. Therefore, high quality grapevines are mostly found in coniferous forests or harsh environments.

2. Picking a vine

Wild grapevines naturally grow up the trees atempting to reach the canopy.
The vines can be as old as the trees and up to 18cm wide. Climbers will scale up to 10 meters to begin the tedious task of removing the vines.

After separating the grapevine, they peel the outer skin which is called “ONIGAWA” because of this strong skin the grapevine can survive cold weather. Once the onigawa is peeled the beautiful skin of the grapevine will be revealed. Vines are usually harvested from the middle of June to beginning of July. Only during these three weeks will you get the highest quality of vine cortex making products that shine and last for generations.

Good quality grapevines will have a gorgeous cream color and will be stronger and smoother.
On the other hand if the skin has a purple, brown, or green color it is either damaged or grew to close to the forest floor these vines will not shine and be less durable.

 Be careful of cheap grapevine bags    

Companies will use vines that are not in season, bags made from these vines will not be as durable and will have been coated in oil or wax to bring color back to the bag. If front and back of the bag have the same color it is most likely dyed.

3. Drying up

Once harvested the grapevine cortex is dried in the sun, then the vine will be placed into a room to continue drying this process preserves the skin for a significant amount of time.

4. Making a strip

We will then soak the dried grapevine skin in water, roll it flat, and cut it to a uniform width. It takes about 60 meters of materials to make one bag, but this varies from bag to bag depending on bag size, shape, and weaving. Elaborate bags can take up to 200 meters of vine to finish.

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