Art Classes in Kumamoto

ByJustin Hanus
Mar 26, 2024

Art Classes in Kumamoto

Whether you want to try your hand at some traditional handicrafts , ceramic painting or fancy learning the art of Japanese calligraphy, there is a variety of arts and crafts classes and workshops across Kumamoto prefecture. You won’t need any level of expertise, just a willingness to give it a try. Here are a few sessions worth checking out.

Traditional Handicrafts

A must visit for any arts enthusiast looking for hands-on opportunities in Kumamoto is the Kumamoto City Handicrafts Promotion Center. This museum in the city’s Minami ward offers craft-making for both adults and children. Sessions include woodworking, bamboo crafting, leather crafting and higo zogan (gold inlay). All you have to pay for is a cost towards the materials. There are also year-long classes held twice a month for those that want to delve a little deeper, as well as occasional pottery workshops where visitors can try molding and painting. If you want to watch first before trying yourself, you can attend one of the center’s free demonstration sessions.



Kyushu is a region well-known for its ceramics, and Kumamoto is associated with the traditional styles of Shodai and Koda. In addition to the sessions at the Handicrafts Promotion Center, there are a couple of other places in Kumamoto of note for ceramic art learning. Hanabusagama is a 15-minute walk from the downtown district and is the studio of renowned ceramics artist Hideo Maeda. You can try a 2-hour taster session in ceramic painting or pottery-making for a little over 2,000 yen, or regular classes (from beginner to advanced) involving the potter’s wheel, firing and painting, starting at 4,000 yen a month. There is also Genngama on the northern outskirts of Kumamoto, where you can mould and paint items such as plates, bowls and cups.

Japanese Handwriting

Japanese calligraphy, also called shodo, is an ancient art-form dating back to the Heian period and linked to Zen Buddhism. The go-to place to equip yourself with the skills necessary to practice this in Kumamoto is the Lucky Art Gallery in central Chuo Ward. The tutor provides 2-hour sessions where you can learn handwriting techniques with a brush, as well as more detailed calligraphic art mixing letters and pictures.

Kijiuma Painting

For something truly unique to Kumamoto, you can’t beat Kijiuma art. The kijiuma is a small wooden painted Japanese toy dating back over 800 years. Toys are painted in vibrant colours and are seen as lucky charms associated with the healthy growth of children. The kijiuma has become a popular souvenir in many parts of Kyushu. If you visit Kumamoto’s Kurokawa Onsen, you can participate in a 60-minute Kijiuma painting session where you can design your own unique toy for around 1,300 yen.


Japanese Paper Making

Located in the Aso district in northern Kumamoto, Art Washi Kobo Hasuki runs special sessions where you can make and design your own washi paper – a traditional hand-processed Japanese paper made from plant and tree fibers mixed with water. The paper is tougher than standard paper and is great for craft-making. In fact, it’s a craft that UNESCO has designated an intangible cultural heritage. In these hour-long sessions costing 1,200 yen, you can make one sheet of decorated paper or two postcards in a variety of colours.


Original: Kanko from Nagasaki, JapanDerivative work: Minh Nguyễn, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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