Hamidashimono (はみだしもの) is the wood that is leftover from the chopstick manufacturing process. Every Hamidashimono is upcycled, collected, stored and dried as if it were a regular pair of izakaya-grade chopsticks and once whittled, is ready for use.
The use of chopsticks in Japan dates back to the 3rd century when they were used in religious ceremonies. While their use with food started in the 7th century, even today they are considered sacred tools that provide a direct connection to god.
We source our Hamidashimono from the family-owned Kitamura Seihashisho (chopstick factory) in Yoshino, Nara prefecture. An early association between Yoshino and chopsticks came through Sen no Rikyū. Born in 1522, he is known as the founder of “wabicha” style tea ceremony and a pioneer of wabi —celebrating beauty in imperfect things. He was known to carve chopsticks for his guests using wood from Yoshino, as a way of enhancing social interaction around meals.
The production of disposable chopsticks in Yoshino started in the late 1800’s, from the recycling of used sake barrels. Today Yoshino chopsticks are made from the leftover planks of locally grown trees which are used to construct beams for traditional Japanese homes.
To support the traditional craft and the Yoshino community, a third of all profits from Hamidashimono kits are shared with Kitamura Seihashisho.
This project started with a visit to a chopstick factory in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture, and falling in love with the sights, sounds and scents of manufacturing an everyday object that most of us take for granted. It was brought to life by three Japan-based designers: Jan Chipchase, James Gibson and Eko Hayashi. With thanks to Lotus LLC of Japan for the support
Yoshino is a historically important timber town and is worth a weekend trip from Kyoto. We recommend staying at San Kirou and/or Yoshino Cedar House, both in walking distance to the timber mills and chopstick factory. Tours and visits can be arranged for both. The forests around Yoshino are very well maintained, and tours can be arranged with the official Guardian Of The Forest.