September 15, 2012 our second stop was the local community centre selling crafts of grass weaving and paulownia wood carving. The paulownia tree has quite beautiful purple flowers in spring and is extremely fast growing producing a light weight wood. The tree can be cut down and it will replace itself. Upstairs above the craft store there were numerous people learning the art of grass weaving. It is incredibly painstaking work and I suspect, given the prices, that their labour was worth less than 100¥ an hour.
The Aizu region is renowned for the various crafts taking place, such as the production of lacquer ware. Many properties in this area (Kitakata) have specialized buildings called kura that are used to protect and store valuable items.