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3 Arts & Crafts that will take you right to the Heart of Japanese Tradition

November 28, 2019 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

Japan is known and appreciated globally for immaculate precision, high detail and unique presentation, so it’s not surprising that Japanese arts and crafts are some of the world’s finest.

In the traditional hot spring town of Kinosaki Onsen, traditional Japanese culture can be found at every turn and the town is home to an array of traditional arts and crafts experiences that bring you back to the Edo era.

Delve right into the heart of Japanese tradition with these three unique art experiences available in Kinosaki Onsen:

Straw Craft: Kinosaki Onsen is home to a long withstanding straw craft. This craft, known as mugiwara zaiku in Japanese, is regarded as a unique traditional handicraft with its vibrant colours and intricate patterns. It is said that in mid Edo era, a craftsman came to stay in Kinosaki Onsen and, to make money to pay for his lodging expenses, sold bamboo flutes and spinning tops decorated with coloured straw.

After the start of the Meiji period, famous artists visited Kinosaki and straw craft gained popularity as an expensive, popular, and unparalleled handicraft. Today, the straw is flattened, dyed, and placed on paulownia boxes, coloured paper, spinning tops, and clay bells. Kinosaki Onsen is proud to be the only place in Japan which continues the traditional production of straw craft while preserving the original skills and techniques of the past.

Visitors can book the Straw Craft Activity and Craftsman Workshop Tour (with English guide) to observe the fascinating and complex straw craft process, learn about its history, and get a private tour of the craftsman’s workshop at the Kamiya Mingei Straw Craft Shop. For a shorter, cheaper option, visitors can try decorating small items at the Kinosaki Straw Craft Museum.

Calligraphy: With guidance from an experienced staff member, learn how to write traditional Japanese calligraphy, known as shodo in Japanese. You will learn the correct stroke order, as well as the stylistic nuances.

Flower Arrangement: Learn how to make ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. Ikebana, along with tea ceremony and incense appreciation, is one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement. In a unique flower arrangement workshop, your instructor will teach you how to cut and strategically place your flowers.

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