OUR TRADITION

About toothpicks

Toothpick production in Kawachinagano City was born in a backdrop of abundant nature.
Let us re-introduce you to this modest yet enduring tool of daily life.
爪楊枝のこと 爪楊枝のこと

Kawachinagano City and toothpicks

河内長野市と爪楊枝

Kawachinagano City and toothpicks

Toothpick production became popular in Kawachinagano City at the beginning of the Meiji era. It is thought to have started with the commercialization of what was once a cottage industry, where many people shaved toothpicks from the locally harvested Kuromoji tree as a source of extra income. At its peak in the 1980s, toothpick production in Kawachinagano City accounted for 97% of the domestic market share. However, since 1990, the number of local manufacturers has continued to decline due to inexpensive foreign imports. Today, we are the only company that continues to produce round-form toothpicks in this region.

Toothpick manufacturing process

We carry forward the wisdom of our predecessors who lived close to nature, cultivating its abundant resources, to the present and for the future.

White Birch Toothpicks
Kuromoji Picks

01.Harvesting Hokkaido white birch

Fast-growing white birch, known for its flexibility and minimal odor, is ideal material for toothpicks. After harvesting, logs are debarked and cut into 35cm dimensions.

02.From logs to thin sheets

The cut logs are boiled to remove any impurities and odor. The softened logs are then peeled into thin sheets through a process called veneering.

03.Processing veneers into rods

At our Hokkaido factory, we cut the prepared veneers into uniform 30cm rods and then dry them. It is from these rods that our uniquely round Japanese toothpicks are born.

04.Cutting to toothpick size

At our factory in Kawachinagano City, the 30cm rods from Hokkaido are cut into uniform 6cm lengths.

05.Shaping the tip

The tips are sharpened to a point. At Kikusui, we also offer a toothpick without "kokeshi" (decorative grooves), allowing us to better manage our resources by reducing excess waste.

06.Inspection and packaging

Each item is inspected by eye to remove any B-grade (‘less than perfect’) products. Then, with the support of our local part-time workers, the toothpicks are carefully packaged and delivered to our customers with heartfelt care.

01.Harvesting Kuromoji

The Kuromoji is a small tree of the Laurel family, and is a representative aromatic tree of Japan. Kikusui sources wood from its home town of Kawachinagano, but also from Kochi and Nara.

02.Consistent thickness and width

Harvested Kuromoji is quartered, retaining the black bark, while ensuring consistent thickness and width.

03.Cutting and finishing by hand

The quartered sections are cut to size and the tips are hand-carved to a point. The simple yet rustic charm of the Kuromoji confectionery cutter (pick) is an essential addition to any tea ceremony.

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