The small town of Inami was founded in 1390, when the town's main temple, Zuisenji was first built. The town grew up around the temple and became known for woodcarving artisans who created intricate decorations for temples, such as statues and ranma, the panel between the ceiling and the sliding shoji screen doors used to separate rooms in Japanese architecture. Inami woodcarving is characterized by its three dimensional designs carved from a single slab of wood rather than several layers carved individually and assembled later. The complexity of this craft requires master artisans like Mitsuo Nomura of Nomura Seiho Workshop to make use of over 300 types of chisels of all shapes and sizes. Nomura is the second generation artisan of his family carrying on the family tradition of this difficult trade and mentoring young apprentices who come to work with him.
Visit the old Yokamachi Street to watch the master artisans or their apprentices at work and witness the tremendous skill and attention to detail required to create these masterpieces of wooden sculpture. In addition to being home to several woodcarving artisans, the Yokamachi Street has various shops, restaurants, and places to stay the night like the bed & breakfast local chain Bed and Craft, visitors who stay of Bed and Craft can try out being an apprentice woodcarver for a few hours. For fun, try to spot all of the over 20 wood-carved cats hidden in places up and down the street.