Saturday, 29 May 2010

Living Crafts in Tokyo

My Visit to Japan - 5

One of the things I did during my recent few days in Tokyo was visit the Edo Shitamachi Traditional Craft Museum.  "Shitamachi" translates as down town (thank you Auberginefleur at Japan Now & Then).
Unfortunately, on the day I visited, there were no craftspeople working there (demonstrations of craftmaking by artisans take place on the ground floor every Saturday and Sunday) but I was able to enjoy the showroom of Japanese crafts which is upstairs in this building at 2-22-13 Asakusa, Taito-ku which is a 12 minute walk (or, in my case an hour and a half wander) from the Tokyo-Metro Asakusa Station and is marked on most tourist maps of the Asakusa (a -sock-sa) area.   It is down a shopping arcade that looks very unlikely but if you miss it you'll come out at a large set of traffic lights on the main Kototoi Dori so just turn around a try again!  Asakusa is a great area to wander aimlessly and one of the best places in Tokyo to put away your map and guidebook and just see what you find.
The museum is open daily between 10am - 8pm and admission is free.  There is also a self-selection video player where you can watch films of craftspeople at work.  I enjoyed seeing a video of some very detailed glass cutting but of course the commentary was in Japanese.

The Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum displays traditional crafts from a wide variety of materials using skills and techniques developed from the old Edo period. The gallery was opened to preserve and popularize traditional crafts while promoting them as a viable industry.  There are approximately 400 items on display from fifty different craft disciplines.  These include work in tortoiseshell, lacquerwork, knives, fans, lanterns, brushes, gold leaf work, detailed wooden furniture, and paintings.  You cannot buy directly from the museum but the staff are able to direct you appropriate artisans if you are interested and there are leaflets available (in English) giving some information about the crafts and craftspeople.


  1. I want to go to Japan =( . Your posties are very interesting

  2. I love it there so much, I wanted to stay there all day, but so much to see and do in Tokyo!!!

  3. Hi Lis,

    Lovely blog - I've added it to the list on mine.

    Best wishes, Susan

  4. Cool I will show this post to my kids, we have not long finished studying Japan and the Edo period!


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hugs, Lis x