3 Gift Ideas from Kumamoto: The Traditional Handicrafts

  • Kumamoto is a land of wonder, beyond the cuteness that is Kumamon. If you find yourself in our beautiful prefecture, feel free to check out the local crafts, and maybe pick up a few to bring back for your friends! Here are some greatest crafts unique to Kumamoto that will amaze both you and your friends or family!

    Higo Zogan

    This craft originates from a collaboration of gunsmiths and goldsmiths, and has a history stretching for over 400 years. As times and trends have changed, the craft has evolved from the heyday of the Edo Period where weapons were decorated in detail, to more modern accessories such as tie clips and earrings.

    Made by engraving wrought iron, then inlaying it with gold and silver, you can find a variety of traditional designs, as pictured above, or more contemporary designs for the modern age. But even such fine craft as Higo Zogan has been taken over by Kumamon, as you see!

    Higo Temari Balls

    The origin of these crafts can be traced back to the Edo Period. Traditionally a plaything for children, Higo Temari were originally made by wrapping a dried sponge cucumber core in colourful thread to produce a variety of intricate and beautiful designs. After rubber balls took over in popularity during the late Meiji period, a group was formed to reinforce this traditional craft.

    You can purchase a wide range of Temari goods, from earrings to Christmas tree ornaments, as well as the traditional balls at local craft shops or culture centres in Kumamoto.

    Kawajiri Knives

    Another handicraft of the Edo Period, Kawashiri knives are known for their durability, beauty, and craftsmanship. Available at many places, from department stores to small specialty shops, these knives are top quality, with craftsmen often keeping the secrets of their trade closed to public through generations of families.

    If you find yourself in Kumamoto, you may even be able to attend a knife-making demonstration!

    Happy shopping!

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