Founded in Hida-Takayama in the snowy north of Gifu prefecture by a local artist, Shin Kogei are known for their woodblock print animals.
Hida-Takayama was an important castle town in the Middle Ages, and today has a fine tradition for wooden furniture. Shin Kogei use this wood to make their printing blocks. The designs, mainly of animals that can be seen in Hida-Takayama, are transferred to the woodblocks and hand dyed onto natural cotton. Each colour designates a different block used, showing the time spent on each animal. After the dye is dried using steam, the animals are filled with natural casks and hand sewn.
The Shin Kogei shop is an important location in the centre of Hida-Takayama today, where can also be found trays and other hand printed objects depicting scenes from life in the town.