Traditional Craft Experience
While being influenced by overseas cultures, there are numerous traditional crafts in Japan that have been cultivated with uniqueness by history and cultural climate and passed on for years. Particularly in Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto, there are traditional crafts deeply rooted to the region and closely associated to the local culture.
Here, we will introduce sites where you can experience traditional handicraft making unique to that area under the guidance of craftsmen who inherit the tradition to the present age. How about creating your one-of-a-kind piece for the memory of your trip? It takes about one to three hours for completion. One of the merits is that you can create a piece easily. Do feel the spirit and craftsmanship of the craftsmen and the depth of Japanese through your experience. (All events require reservations)
Ochanomizu Origami Hall
"Ochanomizu Origami Hall" began as a factory manufacturing dyed paper and chiyogami 160 years ago. In 1972, it was newly opened as a facility equipped with galleries and shops, in addition to the dyeing paper factory, to widely convey the charm of traditional origami in Japan. Here, origami classrooms in which beginners can enjoy are held, with the director and origami artist as instructors. How about dropping by to enjoy the process of folding a paper to make a piece of art? In addition, there are also classrooms to make accessories out of Japanese paper, as well as mizuhiki, another traditional craft.
Shunkaen Bonsai Museum
“Shunkaen Bonsai Museum” was created in 2002 by Kunio Kobayashi, the maestro of bonsai trade who have won prestigious prizes and has been delivering speeches overseas. A vast Japanese garden of about 2640 square meters is full of more than 1000 pots of bonsai. Here, one-day experience classes where beginners can also casually participate are held every week. Let’s work on making bonsai, first by hearing a lecture on the fundamentals. You shape the form by pruning and wrapping the wire around the branch. You can experience the unique Japanese charm through bonsai, expressing nature’s beauty by condensing it into one pot.
Sumida Edo Kiriko Hall
Edo Kiriko (cut glass) is said to have originated in Odenma-cho in Edo period around 1840. Edo Kiriko (cut glass), nurtured in the townspeople culture, is a glass craft that has a flavor of Edo, characterized by traditional patterns with motifs of chrysanthemum flowers and hemp leaves. In the past, "transparent" glasses were used for carving, but in recent years color coated "iro-kabuse" glasses which are covered with indigo or red on the surface are conventional. "Sumida Edo Kiriko Hall" is an atelier specializing in Edo Kiriko (cut glass), which became independent in 2004 from a glass manufacturer founded in 1899. You can make your one-of-a-kind glass in the world carved with original patterns.
Wagashi-tsukasa Kameya Yoshinaga
Japanese confectionery has developed its own style while under the influence of foreign cultures. In Kyoto, where the capital was placed for a long time, "Kyo-gashi (Kyoto’s confectionery)" showing the beautiful sceneries of four seasons were created in connection to tea ceremony and the like, and they have been inherited down to the present age. Wagashi-tsukasa Kameya Yoshinaga was established in 1803. It is a well-established Japanese confectionery store, which, while drawing on tradition, ushers a new phase in Kyo-gashi (Kyoto’s confectionery) industry by collaborating with pastry chefs and launching a brand using low-GI ingredients. Here you can experience the making of Kyo-gashi (Kyoto’s confectionery) full of feeling of season and come in touch with its elegant world.
Kikyo Hayamitsu Japanese Sword Factory
Japanese swords are characterized by unique curves, and it is said that the history stretches for over 1000 years. The pursuit of functionality eliminated useless parts and generated a thoroughly calculated ultimate beauty which enhanced the value as artworks. Even in the present age, there are many swords that are designated as National Treasures. In addition, Japanese swords have been valued not merely as a weapon, but also as objects of faith and heart and soul from time immemorial. In "Kikyo Hayamitsu Japanese Sword Factory", Kikyo-san, a swordsmith of Bizen (present Okayama) den-style holds a dagger making experience where you mold a pre-shaped dagger with a file, quench in a furnace, and complete by grinding.