Mondays,Sundays,Public holidays, New Year's holidays, Obon holidays
●Karakami paper that adorns Shinto shrines, Buddist temples and tearooms
Simply put, Kyo-karakami is a type of woodblock print which uses printing blocks hand-carved on magnolia wood with traditional patterns passed down from ancient times. It is produced by a traditional method where coloring materials called kira (mica) and gofun (white pigment) are added to its surface, and the design is copied with the palm of the hand by overlaying it onto washi paper or torinoko (lustrous and smooth paper) one sheet at a time. To this day, Maruni continues to use printing blocks from the Tempo Era (1830-1844) and protects the patterns, coloring materials, tools, and traditions of old.
9:00～18:00 ※ Please choose the start time of this workshop: ①10:00, ②13:00, ③15:00
● The multi-coloured appeal of mother-of-pearl inlay
Established at the end of Meiji era (1868-1912), Sagaraden Nomura is the only maker and retailer of raden (mother-of-pearl inlay) goods in Kyoto. One of the most outstanding techniques of lacquerware decoration, raden consists of inlaying very thin (about 0.3mm) pieces of seashell (those of Turbo marmoratus or abalone among others) into the black-lacquered surface. Due to its high ornamental qualities, raden is used to adorn various tea utensils and accessories. The craftsmen of Sagaraden Nomura play with light, skillfully adjusting the pieces of seashell to bring out the whole variety of mother-of-pearl tints. Atelier is dealing with different stages of lacquerware production, from lacquering to decorating with raden and maki-e techniques.
Don't miss a chance to try your hand at raden, one of the decorative techniques of Kyoto lacquerware. You can cut out the desired shape of mother-of-pearl yourself. Take the decorated coasters with you on the same day.
Don't miss a chance to try your hand at raden, one of the decorative techniques of Kyoto lacquerware. You can cut out the desired shape of mother-of-pearl yourself. Take the decorated round tray with you on the same day.
● The narrowest woven fabric in the world favoured by samurai
Very durable and resistant to stretching, sanadahimo cords came into use during Warring States period (1467-1568) serving as straps for swords and armour. As sanadahimo cord is woven on a loom, it is called “the narrowest woven fabric in the world”. With the development of the way of tea, these cords with their infinite possibilities of design were perfect for tying wooden boxes for tea utensils. For 15 generations, Enami has been transmitting precious techniques of sanadahimo (such as yakusokuhimo, or “promise bonds”, for different tea ceremony schools) and carrying out all the processes of the traditional cord making, from yarn dyeing to weaving.
Tsujigahana was in fashion in Azuchi-Momoyama period (1558-1600), when it was a term designating a gorgeous kimono. Nowadays, it’s called a “phantom dyeing technique” because of its very little documented origins. ESHIBORIAN is an atelier where Fukumura Hirotoshi and his son Takeshi are reviving tsujigahana dyeing techniques. Shibori-zome, or tie-dyeing performed by sewing, binding and clamping fabric before immersing it into dye liquor, is complemented by other decorative techniques, such as hand painting, to create picturesque bright-coloured patterns. This precious traditional craft is maintained in the northern part of Kyoto blessed with high-quality underground water.
● Feel the history of Nishijin brocades in an old Kyoto machiya
Established in 1906, Watabun is a long-standing shop specializing in Nishijin silk brocades. From yarn dyeing and warping to weaving gorgeous obi sashes by hand and Noh costume restoration, the establishment protects the original Nishijin-ori techniques by maintaining the traditional system of division of labour. Watabun is situated in Daikoku-cho district, the heart of Nishijin textile industry with numerous weaving companies standing side by side. Orinasukan, a textile museum adjoining the workshop, has an architectural style characteristic of Nishijin weavers’ houses. Watabun and its neighbourhood with traditional Kyoto merchant houses and stone paving is a perfect place to feel the history of old Kyoto.
● The oldest traditional sake brewery in central Kyoto
Established about 280 years ago, this oldest and full of history sake maker in central Kyoto continues to protect the tradition of sake brewing. Close to Kamogawa river and surrounded by mountains, the brewery is located in a rich natural environment highly favorable to the creation of numerous aromatic brands of sake. Kyoto underground water and locally grown rice are used as ingredients for brewing premium sake best suited for exquisite Kyoto cuisine. While preserving traditional techniques, the brewery progressively introduces modern technology, such as use of solar panels or temperature control equipment.
● The inherited techniques of Kyoto-style pottery
Shunzan-gama is a third-generation pottery maker located in Sennyu-ji temple area which has long been abundant in kilns. The studio has inherited the distinguishing style of Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743), a potter active in the middle of the Edo period. The works of Shunzan-gama are well known for their characteristic flower designs completely covering the surface which still preserves the tenderness of soft clay. The studio creates the earthenware adapted to the modern lifestyle, mastering the colorful painting and openwork carving techniques of Kyoto-style pottery cultivated through its 100-year-old history.
● The warm simplicity of Raku ware pottery
Rakunyu-gama is a kiln mastering the traditional techniques of Raku-yaki, highly prized pottery used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Its activities are centered around the production of matcha tea bowls, as well as various flower vases, incense containers and plates. As Raku ware is moulded by hand without the use of a potter’s wheel, its charm lies in a warm and rustic appearance. Developed as a part of Kyoto culture, its technique and texture differ from those of the typical Kyoto ware. Along with the creation of Raku-yaki, characterized by low-temperature firing, Rakunyu-gama is also striving to create light-colored ceramics.
● The appeal of bright-coloured Cochin ware
In Hiyoshi, Kyoto area famous for the distinguished ceramics production, Koshun-gama has been producing impressive vibrant-coloured Cochin ware for three generations. A wide variety of items—everything from tea utensils to casual tableware—is created here using icchin, or tube lining decorating technique. The edges of patterns are defined with the relief lines made by squeezing soft clay through a nozzle. After applying a colored glaze, the low-temperature firing takes place, bringing out the distinctive Cochin ware colours. All the processes are performed by the same artisan, who is willing to create new order-made items.
● The ultimate protector of Kyoto-style umbrella tradition
Established more than 100 years ago, Hiyoshiya is actually the only producer of Kyo-wagasa, traditional Kyoto-style umbrella, which plays an important role in various cultural events such as outdoor tea ceremonies, Noh and Kabuki stage performances, as well as solid and rustic umbrella for general use. Kyo-wagasa, made from carefully selected bamboo and washi (Japanese paper), is held in high esteem in Japan and overseas. Recently, Hiyoshiya has also been actively designing and producing new lifestyle products, such as lighting equipment, using traditional umbrella-making methods and techniques.
● Nishijin Tsuzure-ori: delicate painting-like brocade weaving
Have you ever heard of Kyoto nail-scratching tapestry weaving technique? Artisan sharpens his fingernails into a saw-tooth shape and uses them like a comb to create a relief brocade pattern. This technique is very advanced and time consuming — even the most skillful and experienced craftsman spends the whole day to weave only a few centimeters of textile. Don’t miss the unique opportunity to learn from the master craftsman Kikuo Hirano about Tsuzure-ori weaving and get some insights into the art of color arrangement.
Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays (inquire in advance)
●The beauty of Nishiki created through orchestrated effort of numerous craftsmen
Since ancient times, Nishiki-ori, Kyoto silk brocades woven with gold, silver and multi-colored threads, have been valued for their luxurious appearance. KOHO Nishiki Textile Studio undertakes the restoration of precious ancient textiles and conducts a thorough research about the traditional weaving techniques, from the silk cocoons processing to the tools and weaving equipment. Nishiki textiles are created through the combined skills of numerous craftsmen, involving not less than 70 various processes. The works of the textile artist Koho Tatsumura are characterized by a stunning luminous three-dimensional effect and are called “The Weaving of Light” overseas.
● Unique tradition of Kyoto lantern making
Founded about 220 years ago, Kobishiya Chūbe has long illuminated temples, shrines, shops and restaurants. Now the traditional technique of lantern making called jibari-shiki is carried on by two brothers, Shun and Ryo Kojima.
The manufacturing method consists of creating a lantern frame by bending bamboo strips into individual rings and fixing them together with hemp strings, which results in the production of tough lanterns easy to repair. As a fair amount of time and effort is put into each lantern, this method has become rare nowadays, but Kobishiya Chūbe continues to provide temples, shrines and long-established shops with high-quality lanterns.
● The last standing spinning top maker
In Momoyama period (1568-1600), imperial court ladies used to wind bright-colored kimono fabric strips around a bamboo rod to make a “tatami room spinning top”, the ancestor of modern Kyo-koma, or Kyoto spinning top. The craft of spinning top making has long flourished, but now Jakkyu remains the only place in Kyoto to carry on this unique tradition. No edged tools are involved in Kyo-koma shaping process: flat cotton strips dyed in vivid colors are rolled around a bamboo rod using only fingers. Even today, elegant Kyoto spinning tops are popular for their beautiful smooth rotation.
Sundays, public holidays & irregular closings on Saturdays
● Kyoto round fans, elegant touch of freshness
Kyoto round fans, called Kyo-uchiwa or miyako-uchiwa, enjoy great popularity for their fine and elegant appearance. With sophisticated designs incorporating different craft techniques like openwork or woodblock printing to enhance decorative elements, Kyo-uchiwa tends to add a fresh touch of colour to any interior. The ribs and handles of Kyoto round fans are made separately in a style called sashie : about 100 bamboo ribs are arranged radially by hand, and the handle is attached at the end of the process. Every year, Shiomi Dansen carries out the production of more than 200 varieties of fans with traditional designs and handles of all kinds.
● Uniqueness of subtle green glaze
UNRAKU-gama kiln holds a special place in the rich Kyo-yaki / Kiyomizu-yaki pottery tradition. Kyoto-style earthenware produced here is well-known for its original traditional patterns depicting the beauty of nature, meticulously painted over smooth surface. Slightly greenish aomatto glaze has become the most representative feature of UNRAKU-gama production. Skillful potter pays attention to the conditions of firing, which may eventually bring out the whiteness or crystallization of the glaze. This innovative kiln was the first in the national ceramics industry to introduce the practice of firing in an electric kiln, making a huge contribution to the world of Japanese pottery tradition.