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Around 600 years ago, the Japanese discovered amazing benefits of using buckwheat hull also called sobakawa in their bedding, then they started using it in pillows (Makura). Many people want to know “What is Buckwheat?” Buckwheat is not a type of grain like wheat. It is a fruit whose closest relative is known as rhubarb. It is similar to a sunflower seed, which has a hard outer shell known as hull that protects the buckwheat seed. Buckwheat is one of the ancient crops which has an important role in the history of mankind. Buckwheat is not only a food but can also be used in medical treatments. It is used to treat high blood pressure, gout, varicose veins and radiation damage.
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The wagasa are made of washi paper (handmade Japanese paper) and bamboo. There are several types of wagasa, some of which are rain-proof. Very widespread in the past wagasa have gradually disappeared with the appearance of western type umbrellas. Today, wagasa manufacture is concentrated mainly in Gifu and to a lesser extent in Kyoto.
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