Omori Japanese Candle Shop

Traditional crafts still exist in Ehime

By Masayoshi Hirose    - 2 min read

Omori Candle Shop is the only place in Ehime Prefecture that still preserves the traditional craft of Japanese candle making.

The shop is located in Uchiko Town in the Kita district of Ehime's Nanyo region. Uchiko was a town home to several wealthy merchants who produced wood wax from the Edo period (1603-1867) through to the Taisho period (1912-1926). Although, candles were later replaced by electricity and oil, the existence of these merchant houses continue to show just how prosperous they were in the old days. Omori Candle Shop is one of them.

Passing through the old brown-coloured nonren entrance curtain, you enter an old building just as it was in the old days. Looking over the owner's desk to the product display on the wall, and then back to the owner's workplace in the back, I did not see any modern tools at all. Not a single one.

Not surprisingly, everything you can see has been well maintained with non-stop daily care; from the large pot with molten wood wax to the pot of hot water, everything here is in good condition. It has the image of an obvious everyday store. This surely must be what a traditional craft store is supposed to look like.

Watching everything, it is hard not to be impressed by the marvelous industry involved in forming a layer of wood wax, repeatedly, over and over its candle core. The temperature of the wood wax required depends on the time required for work and the speed of how the hand moves. In practice, for anyone with weak skin, a single touch of this wax would be too much. That's just how hot it is!

After observing all of this, it is very hard to not be impressed and full of admiration for those working with traditional crafts in such a harsh environment.

Getting there

More information can be found here at Omori Candle Shop (Japanese)

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Yoshimi Dan

Yoshimi Dan @yoshimi.dan

Original by Masayoshi Hirose