Find your own personal calligraphy brush at Kousetsuken – the definitive Kyoto brush maker.
Established in Japan’s Edo Period, Kousetsuken has been the cherished brush maker of celebrated Kyoto writers and literary masters for over 150 years.
The brushes used at famous Kyoto temples, such as Sanjusangendo and Ryōan-ji Temple, for their seal books are from Kousetsuken as well.
The high-quality brushes that fill the shelves of Kousetsuken are each handcrafted by skilled brush makers. The innumerable types of brushes are all masterpieces made with real animal fur and of specific sizes and shapes.
In Japan, when one hears the word brush, usually the first thing to come to mind is calligraphy. However, at Kousetsuken, you can purchase brushes for not only calligraphy and ink painting but stencil making, watercolor, and acrylic painting as well.
Also, the brushes here are a steal compared to those sold at art supply stores.
For those overwhelmed by the selection, Kousetsuken lets you test out brushes in water so each and every customer can find their perfect brush. For those who speak Japanese, owner Nagaoka also offers advice for choosing the right brush as well.
Kousetsuken may look expensive at first glance, but when inside you’ll find a store that, even if you’re a newcomer, introduces you to how fun brushes can be.
When you’re out shopping around Kyoto, make sure to have Kousetsuken on your list.
Water Calligraphy Set
/ ￥600 (excl. tax) (Inc. 3 pages of water calligraphy paper) + any type of brush
Using water instead of ink, this set provides you with what you need to have fun with water calligraphy and ink wash painting. Simply let the water dry, and you can use the same page again (one page can be used over 1000 times). This makes this set an excellent choice for those wanting to casually try their hand at using a brush or those who don’t want to waste sheet after sheet of paper.
Also, as you don’t have to worry about the floor or surroundings being covered in ink, this set’s great for kids too. The light weight of the set also makes it a popular item with those from overseas.
We recommend purchasing the set with a brush to go with it.
/ ￥350 - ￥1,700 *prices vary depending on size and animal fur. Please inquire in store for more info.
These stencil brushes are brushes that can be used as stamps and are recommended for adding patterns to T-shirts. The stencil brushes at Kousetsuken come in various sizes and use various types of animal fur, including deer, pig, and horse. Each variety of animal fur has a different level of hardness and feel.
Try out a view and see if you can’t find the right combination for you.
The handles are made of bamboo, giving the brushes an overall classically Japanese, yet stylish design.
3Check it out!
Shinshun no Odaihitsu (New Year’s brushes)
/ ￥1,700 (excl. tax)
Every year, Kousetsuken takes inspiration from the “Imperial poetry reading” to create their Shinshun no Odaihitsu (New Year’s brushes). The theme for 2019 was “light” and “language” for 2018. Each year craftspeople take these themes and create brushes inspired by them. This yearly tradition at Kousetsuken has continued every year since 1982. The fact that these brushes are each hand made, together with their beautiful mix of colors, makes them incredibly popular. Production of the brushes every year starts in November and only continues until January, so we recommend placing an order for yours as early as possible. Also, please note that previous year’s designs aren’t able to be purchased again.
4Check it out!
Renhitsu (the multi-brush brush)
/ Pictured items: Large: ￥9,000｜Medium: ￥15,000｜Small: ￥5,500 (excl. tax) *prices vary depending on size and animal fur. Please enquire in store for more info.
These impressive multi-brush brushes are the Renhitsu. Often used in ink wash painting, these brushes can paint gradations and offer a wide possibility for expression.