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Image of the interior of Uehaesou

Made in Kyoto "Evolving long-established shop" - Over 270 years of dealing in "Japanese colors". From paints to nails, Uehaesou offers beautiful colors.

Made in Kyoto = "Kyomono". While continuing to make traditional Kyoto products, the company has challenged itself to create something new and has built a history of more than 100 years as a long-established business. Each product has its own story, whether it is something that should be continued even though the times have changed or something that was born because the times have changed.

1.As a specialty store specializing in paints with a history dating back to the Edo period

When you visit temples and museums in Kyoto, you will often come across beautifully colored Japanese-style paintings. Japanese-style paintings are created using traditional Japanese painting materials and techniques. The materials used for painting are natural, and the paints are made with materials found in the natural world, using advanced techniques. The paints have been used for fusuma-e (sliding door paintings) and ukiyo-e (woodblock prints), and are very valuable. Known as the oldest paint store in Japan, Ueha Eso still continues to produce paints by hand, with a desire to value "warmth and the five senses of craftsmanship.

Exterior view of Uehaeso

It all started in 1751. Founded by the first generation, Enoguya Sobei, the company sold color paints ranging from gofun, a white paint important for Japanese-style painting, to natural rocks and other colored paints. From there, during the Meiji period (1868-1912), the company invented face painting in square containers and became an unshakable specialist in paints for Japanese-style painting. Then, the ninth generation invented Shinsai iwa egor, which could be manufactured stably and suited to the times, rather than natural iwa egor, the raw material of which had become hard to obtain.

Image of Uehaesou

Currently, the company offers about 700 painting materials, mainly iwa-enogu used by professional Japanese painters, as well as 1,200 Japanese colors such as suiboshi and stick paints, which are also used by Noh mask artists and doll makers. Since 1989, the tenth generation of the company has been taking care of the curtain.

2.Goko Nails Reflecting Japanese and Kyoto Colors

The first Enoguya Sobei, the founder of the company, first set up a gofun (powdered pigments) business in the area where he now resides. Since then, gofun, with its trademark white fox, has been known as a high-quality white paint. However, the number of Japanese painters and people using traditional Japanese colors has decreased. Above all, the number of craftsmen who make the paints is decreasing due to their advanced age, which is also a serious problem. For example, the color of ancient vermilion, which is made by burning mercury, has been discontinued because no one is able to make it anymore.

Inside the Uehaesou store

He thought that if things continued as they were, Japanese colors would be lost, and that the survival of his family's business would be at stake. The idea was to use scallop shells, a natural material, to create nail polish. Unlike ordinary nail polish color, which is made by coloring synthetic resin and dissolving it in an organic solvent, gofun nail polish has no distinctive pungent odor.

[Uehaesou's gofun nail polish in limited edition fall and winter colors

[Uehaesou's limited edition fall/winter gofun nail polish colors 2023-2024 are available in three colors, each priced at 1452 yen. From left: Kaka-iro, a nuanced nude beige that blends well with the skin. Brick color" blends well with silver and gold. The traditional Japanese color "yellow autumn leaves," which is also the color of costumes and kasane (a type of kimono worn during the Heian period). The 3-color set with 4 exclusive removal sheets costs 4,356 yen.

[Uehaesou's gofun nail polish was launched in 2010. The product is water-soluble and gentle on people. Not only does it produce good colors, but it dries quickly and elegantly. In addition, the nail polish can be removed with rubbing alcohol used to sterilize hands without using nail polish remover, and there is also a special lavender-scented organic remover that can be used even by people with weak nails.

In 2016, the company launched a new series of nail polish called the "Shine Series," which is easier to remove nail polish color than its predecessors. This series is called "One Day Nail" because the nail polish film can be removed when bathing, making it useful for people who want to wear nail polish only on that one day, such as at a party. Currently, there are more than 40 colors in the lineup. In addition, three limited edition colors are released twice a year, in spring and summer, and in fall and winter.

3.New cosmetics containing scallop shell gofun

After the launch of gofun nail polish, he realized that people are looking for cosmetics and other products that are gentle to people, and he decided to come up with new products that allow people to enjoy color again. In fact, there are many female staff members at [Ueha Eso]. Their presence is very important in product development, and their various opinions about using the products are utilized in product planning and prototyping. The result is Kyohana Mai, a lipstick in six colors inspired by the flowers of Kyoto, which went on sale in 2019.

Lipstick by Uehaesou

Lipsticks "Kyo Hanamai" are available in six colors at 1,980 yen each. They are available in the following colors: spring flower colors: red plum and cherry blossom, summer flower colors: hinoki fan, autumn flower colors: akiake chrysanthemum and autumn leaves, and winter flower colors: yamacha flower.

Then, with an eye toward beautiful hands that look good with gofun nail polish, the company sold Medicated Hand Joule Zuyu, which focuses on ingredients produced in Kyoto, followed in 2021 by Fingertip Watering Gel, a nail beauty essence containing domestic yuzu ingredients. In 2021, a fingernail beauty essence and fingertip watering gel containing domestic yuzu ingredients, and in 2023, a rose-scented fingernail beauty essence and fingertip watering gel will be available.

Uehaesou's hand juleps

Medicated hand julep with moisturizing Kyoto tea leaves and rare Kyoto golden silk extract is light and comfortable to use, 1540 yen. Also, organic and additive-free face soap for face wash, 1833 yen, is a joint product with handmade soap [Kyoto Shabonya

4.With gratitude to our loyal customers

Recently, [Ueha Eso] has been offering nail art, gradations, and other ways to enjoy gofun nail art. Until now, the company has specialized in wholesale sales and has not directly sold its products outside of its main store, which is a physical store, because the people who purchase its products are not close to the company.
However, due to the wave of the times and the voices of fans, the company's e-commerce site was renewed in the fall of 2023. The site was enhanced with product introductions and reading materials, and the number of products handled for paints was greatly increased.

Cherish the colors of Japan. To feel the beauty of these colors from your toes and feel familiar with them leads to respect for the craftsmen who have spun the history of the world. Above all, we hope you will enjoy the opportunity to wear beautiful Japanese colors.

Mr. Nishimura, manager of Uehaesou

Manager of [Ueha Eso], who supports the 10th generation along with his staff. She loves Kyoto culture and enjoys fun and delicious food. At the store, he also teaches how to use gofun nail polish.

5.[Uehaesou Main Store] Store Information

Uehaesou Head Office

  • upper branches of a store
  • 579 Toro-cho, Higashinotoin-dori Takatsuji-sagaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
  • 5 minutes walk from Hankyu Karasuma Station
    5-minute walk from Subway Shijo Station
  • Tel. 075-351-0693
  • 9:00-17:00
  • Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays
  • No parking
  • https://www.ueba.co.jp/
  • PHOTO / Taka Natsumi, TEXT / Yoshiko Doi
*Please note that the information contained herein is subject to change without notice.
*Since this site uses automatic translation, the translation may differ from the original Japanese content.


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