Let’s experience the work of craftsmen!


16/12/2014 Writter: Hideki Motosue
serials craftsmanship

Ogawa city, Saitama Prefecture is home of ”Japanese paper,” registered as intangible cultural assets.


“Japanese paper” is registered as intangible cultural heritage for its thinness, strength, and beauty. On November 27th, 3 types of Japanese papers; Sekishu-washi from Shimane Prefecture, Hon Minogami from Gifu Prefecture, and Hosokawa-gami, all from Saitama Prefecture were registered into the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage for its traditional art of “washi” style paper making. Japanese paper or “Washi,” came from China and was evolved into world-astonishing thinness, strength, and beauty made through manual procedures. Ingredients are bark fibers, such as paper mulberry, paper-bush, and Gampi. Using mucus of sunset hibiscus to stir the fibers is also Japan’s own technique. ※The ingredients, paper mulberries All papers are made by hand. A […]

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It’s like a small European town in Japan, a day trip to ”Otaru” in Hokkaido 


Otaru has Hokkaido’s version of Wall street. Located close to Sapporo station, and easy to access, Otaru brings in many day trip travelers. You can take an airport express train from JR Sapporo station to Otaru station in 32 minutes. This town thrives through its herring, railway, and port industries. An old Mitsui Sumitomo bank was built in 1927 on Sakaimachi Street, formerly known as “Wall Street of the North,” and still exists to this day. These important buildings show how Otaru was important to the economy of Hokkaido at the time. You can make your own music box and glassworks at local studios. Many galleries have opened in Otaru, […]

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Making memories by creating your own Raku ware at the hot spring hotel, “Koyo” in Yamagata Prefecture.

The hotel, Kyoyo which has Onsen

Nothing beats this hot spring for beauty! The hot spring hotel “Koyo” was opened in 1951 in Kaminoyama city, Yamagata Prefecture. As a woman, I visited expecting a beauty effect from this hot spring! It contains a natural beauty ingredient called metasilicic acid, and it controls the ceramide molecules in your skin. It’s usually said that, you can expect the effect if the water contains 50mg of metasilicic acid per 1000ml, but the Koyo’s hot spring contains more than that, 76mg per 1000ml! While relaxind and viewing majestic Mount Zao, you can make your skin soft and nice. It’s such a luxury. Make your own Raku ware plate for a […]

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Want to experience intense tea culture in Kyoto? Let’s mill matcha with a stone mill!

Milling matcha

A rare experience, milling matcha yourself Do you know what matcha is? It’s newly harvested tealeaves, processed with stone mills. Nowadays its packed in cans, but many years ago only the necessary amount would be milled for immediate consumption in order to keep it fresh. You can mill matcha with stone mills buy yourself at this factory (Kobo) and taste real fresh Japanese tea. Guess what these stones are? Once you enter the kobo, you’ll see many stones on exhibit. These granite stones are called “Mikage-ishi”, and are produced in Japan. Their texture is suitable for milling, and people used to also mill matcha with this stone in the past. […]

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”Kimekomi dolls,” the wooden dolls with beautifully pleated Japanese costumes.


  These Japanese dolls are dressed in really beautiful Kimonos. Do you know how to put clothes on them? These are called “Kimekomi dolls,” which are dressed in Japanese costumes made from cloth with the edges neatly tucked into grooves in the wood. Team Tadaima Japan went to experience making Kimekomi dolls to understand more about the traditional Japanese handicrafts. Because it’s January now, I made a sheep, the zodiac sign for this year.   This sheep’s body is made of wood flour compressed with glue. You look naked, so I’m going to give you some nice clothes!   My tools consisted of, a body, a sheet of cloth, and […]

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My experience of aizome, dying Japan Blue

Indigo, nicknamed Japan Blue, is an important color in Japanese culture. This is why I decided to visit Wanariya, a shop that allows visitors to make their own Japan Blue items! (If you want to know more about Japan Blue, read our article: 4 important colors in Japanese culture). Follow me through each step of the making as if you were there! This is what a t-shirt dyed using aizome (the Japan blue dying method) looks like. Will I really be able to make a handkerchief looking like that?! The lecturer has just handed me me a white handkerchief, marbles, rubber bands and some plastic film! This looks very funny but […]

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Make your own Japanese pottery at “The Takara Pottery Studio Experience”


It’s easy enough, even for a beginner! Let’s drop by a pottery class while sightseeing in Kamakura. Takara Pottery Studio is about a 10-minute walk from the west exit of Kitakamakura station. It’s located at ”Takara no niwa”, an old renovated Japanese house, just behind Jochi-ji Temple. I’m going to take a class using the simplest plaster mold, even though there’s a class that offers a more contemporary approach, using an electric potter’s wheel. I’m going to take my mind off my everyday busy life and enjoy pottery with a peaceful mind in a Zen-like state. Please follow the side road from the Jochi-ji Temple gate to get to Takara […]

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Trying Ikebana for the first time


Here we go! This time, I visited the Ichiyo School of Ikebana. They often participate abroad in exhibitions and demonstrations for Ikebana. Ichiyo-style Ikebana uses plants and other materials, and utilizes the space as a part of the work. Mr. Yamada and I took the lesson as beginners. I was a little bit excited, and nervous at the same time, because this was my first Ikebana experience. By the way, you don’t need to bring anything special for the lesson. ●Lecture Mr. Naohiro Kasuya, Iemoto-designate of Ichiyo School of Ikebana, taught the workshop. He used to live abroad, so he can also give you the lesson in English. You’ll be […]

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Experience traditional Japanese crafts near the Tokyo Sky Tree Tower! 5 shops and studios, including workshop information


The Tokyo Sky Tree Tower is such a modern building and consists of cutting edge technologies. By contrast, the surrounding areas still retain the downtown atmosphere from the Edo period. You can experience traditional Japanese culture through old crafts that have been developed in these areas.

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The annual fabric dyeing festival, “Some no Komichi”

Every February an event known as “Some no Komichi” (染の小道) turns the river and streets of Nakai town in Shinjuku ward into a gallery filled with displays of dyed fabrics.
Supported by student volunteers and local residents from the Ochiai and Nakai areas, 2016’s hugely successful, “Some no Komichi” welcomed over 15,000 visitors.
Let’s have a look at the history of dyed fabrics in the region, and some festival highlights.

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Wagashi (Traditional Japanese confectionery often served with tea)

Video You can experience making Wagashi! Wagashi is found all over Japan and is unique to each location. 400 years ago in Kyoto and Edo (now called Tokyo), Wagashi was developed for gifts and as sweets for Japanese tea ceremony. It is said that people can enjoy Wagashi using all of the five senses: -Appearance from a pleasant array of shapes and Colors. -Texture from enjoying the softness, moistness, or crispness. -Taste from savoring the delicious flavors. -Scent from the delicate Fragrances. -Sound from the Wagashi names derived from Haiku (Japanese 31-syllable poems). Many Wagashi stores offer the culinary experience. (Web search Key words: 和菓子 体験 (it means Wagashi experience) […]

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Tadaima Japan hosted a 2nd Event, A Workshop for making multifaceted Edo glass!

I had previously wrote an article about Multifaceted Edo Kiriko and actually made one, but this time we held a workshop event for those who became interested from reading the article. Let’s have a look at the event! As soon as we gathered, the lecturer started explaining.The lecturer, Mr. Sekiba is an owner of “Glass factory Sokichi.” He provided the location and great cooperation for this event. He holds lecture materials and explains clearly. He is a kind teacher. Everyone listened to him carefully. We had 5 members total in 4 different nationalities, Charles from Canada, Jennifer from America, So from China, and Chisa from Japan. It’s so global! As […]

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The magical technique of ”Multifaceted Edo glass” turns glass into art


Shining glass products from tableware to ornaments are loved by people all over the world. Japan has been developing a multifaceted glass style called “Edo kiriko” since 1834. Edo kiriko has traditional Japanese patterns on the surface, and is neatly polished. Tadaima Japan went to a studio and experienced making Edo kiriko. We will introduce to you the kinds of patterns found in faceted glass. Straight lines are crossed over vertically, laterally, and obliquely to make certain patterns including hexagonal wickerwork patterns, octagon wickerwork patterns, repeated chrysanthemum patterns, hemp patters, and Japanese “yarai” patters, all of which represent part of the 10 most frequently used patterns. Traditionally, these patterns have […]

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