Akebizuru-zaiku, or Akebi vine weaving uses wild vines to produce everyday goods, such as baskets. They used to be manufactured by farmers all over Akita Prefecture as essential products. However, the spread of synthetic goods and the shortage of base materials resulted in a decline in manufacturers. The production area is now limited to Kanazawa in Yokote City and Sennan in Misato Town.
Akebi vines are harvested in the Ou Mountains during spring and fall. Vines 3 mm to 5 mm thick and 3 m long are bundled together to be dried and stored. They are soaked in water for a week in the winter and three days in the summer to bring out their color and make them flexible before processing. The base is made first, and the vines are woven by rotating them with relatively thick threads as holders. Approximately 50 vines are required to produce one shopping basket. Manufacturers spend an entire day to complete the work.
The dark brown vines are said to be as strong as wires because of their flexibility. Akebizuru-zaiku products have established a reputation for lasting for at least 20 years.
While Akebizuru-zaiku products were originally found useful as daily commodities, they have become popular as decorative materials in recent years.