Come See 40 Types of Arts and Crafts at the 59th Tokyo Traditional Crafts Fair!

  • One of the many ways to understand the local culture of Tokyo is through its traditional arts and crafts. Every year, several exhibits are held showcasing the craftsmanship of the Japanese and how such traditional arts and crafts have been cultivated over the ages. To promote local economic development and culture, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government offers another way for tourists to enjoy and learn about the traditional arts and crafts of Tokyo for free through the 59th Tokyo Traditional Crafts Fair which will be held until January 18th, 2016.


    How the Traditional Crafts Fair Came About

    Most of the arts and crafts that were introduced to Japan during the Nara Period originate from India and China along with the introduction of Buddhism to the country. These arts and crafts continuously evolved from the Nara Period to the Muromachi Period and became acclimatized to the taste of the Japanese. The Tokugawa Shogunate during the early Edo Period further advanced the skills of craftsmen as a system of centralized feudalism was introduced to Edo which comes also with a policy creating special residential districts in the city for the finest craftsmen.

    As the years went by, Japan developed the culture of consumption and stylishness which gave a room for the production of arts and crafts. Today, many masterpieces of these artworks that were honed throughout the years can still be found in modern Japan. Seeing how far arts and crafts in Japan have developed over time, the need to showcase the timelessness of such artworks was evident.

    40 Traditional Crafts of Tokyo


    Many arts and crafts that were introduced to Japan can be traced back to India and China with the advent of Buddhism. At present, there are about 40 items that were marked as “Traditional Crafts of Tokyo.” These items also bear the certification seal with a design that combines the Tokyo Crest and the kanji character “den” giving the word dentokogei (traditional crafts). Here is a list of the 40 items that will be included in this year’s Tokyo Traditional Crafts Fair.

    1. Murayama-Oshima Tsumugi (Textured Silk Pongee)
    2. Tokyo Some-Komon (Tokyo Fine-Patterned Dyeing)
    3. Honba Kihachijo (Hachijojima Silk Fabric)
    4. Edo Kimekomi Ningyo (Wood and Cloth Dolls)
    5. Tokyo Ginki (Silverware)
    6. Tokyo Tegaki Yuzen (Hand-Painted Kimono)
    7. Tama Ori (Tama Woven Fabrics)
    8. Tokyo Kumihimo (Braided Cords)
    9. Edo Shikki (Lacquerware)
    10. Edo Bekko (Tortoiseshell Products)
    11. Edo Hake (Edo Brushes)
    12. Tokyo Butsudan (Buddhist Altars)
    13. Edo Tsumami-Kanzashi (Ornamental Hairpins)
    14. Tokyo Gakubuchi (Picture Frames)
    15. Edo Zoge (Ivory Carvings)
    16. Edo Sashimono (Wood Joinery)
    17. Edo Sudare (Slatted Blinds)
    18. Edo Sarasa (Printed Silk Calico)
    19. Tokyo Honzome Yukata (Indigo-Dyed Summer Kimono)
    20. Edo Wazao (Bamboo Fishing Rods)
    21. Edo Ishogi Ningyo (Costumed Dolls)
    22. Edo Kiriko (Cut Glassware)
    23. Edo Oshi-e Hagoita (Padded Collage Paddles)
    24. Edo Katchu (Warrior Armor)
    25. Tokyo Tokogei (Rattan Craft)
    26. Edo Shishu (Embroidery)
    27. Edo Moku-Chokoku (Wood Sculptures)
    28. Tokyo Chokin (Metal Chasing)
    29. Tokyo Uchihamono (Hand-Forged Blades)
    30. Edo Hyogu (Scroll Mountings)
    31. Tokyo Shamisen (Three-Stringed Musical Instrument)
    32. Edo Fude (Handmade Calligraphy Brushes)
    33. Tokyo Mujizome (Plain Dyeing)
    34. Tokyo Koto (Japanese Harp)
    35. Edo Karakami (Hand-Made Patterned Paper for Interiors)
    36. Edo Moku-Hanga (Woodblock Prints)
    37. Tokyo Shippo (Cloisonne Enamelware)
    38. Tokyo Teue Brush (Handmade Brushes)
    39. Edo Glassware (Glassware)
    40. Edo Tegaki Chochin (Hand-Painted Paper Lanterns)

    More to Offer: Demonstrations and Handicraft Classes


    Besides exhibitions and sales, there are also demonstrations on the craftsmanship of wood joinery (Edo Sashimono), wood sculptures (Edo Moku-Chokoku), hand-painted paper lantern (Edo Tegaki Chochin) and so on. The guided tours for these demonstrations are free and English speaking staff are available throughout the exhibition. To further engage the tourists into arts and crafts, handicraft classes are also offered at the venue in three different sessions (11:30 am, 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm). Each class can accommodate 4 to 10 participants. These handicraft classes require a registration fee for the materials that will be used. Further details about the event could be seen here.

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