Craft Workshops for an Interactive Experience in Kumamoto

ByJustin Hanus
Jun 26, 2024

Craft Workshops for an Interactive Experience in Kumamoto

Seeing crafts in exhibitions gives you a good sense of the culture that created them and an idea of the craftsmanship involved. However, nothing compares to having the experience of making something yourself. Visitors to Kumamoto can participate in interactive experiences at various craft workshops around the prefecture.

Kumamoto City Handicrafts Promotion Center

The main place to find craft workshops is the Kumamoto City Handicrafts Promotion Center. You’ll find different workshops every day, each                                                                                                                                         teaching visitors to make a different modern or traditional handicraft. Options include woodwork, bamboo, leatherwork, Higo zogan (a type of gold inlay), and glasswork. Check the schedule and book in advance to join one of the morning or afternoon sessions — you’ll only need to pay the cost of the materials.
If you’re serious about learning a craft, there are also workshops lasting a year with classes twice a month. Some participants even continue beyond one year to learn advanced techniques.

Where: 1-3-58 Kawashiri, Minami Ward, Kumamoto (map)

Kumamoto City Crafts Center

Within Kumamoto City Handicrafts Promotion Center is Kumamoto City Crafts Center. In addition to the exhibition hall, shop, and demonstrations, there’s a pottery workshop with 20 hand-cranked potter’s wheels available for visitors to use. You’ll be able to mold, paint, and fire the piece of pottery you create in a kiln.

There are also two more spaces for workshops at the center. Workshop YU hosts a variety of classes, whereas Cooking Studio HANA hosts cooking and pastry-making classes as well as Ikebana flower arranging workshops.

Where: 1-3-58 Kawashiri, Minami Ward, Kumamoto (map)

Yamaga Lanterns Folk Crafts Museum

At Yamaga Lanterns Folk Crafts Museum, you’ll learn everything there is to know about Yamaga lanterns. Dating back around 600 years, they’re made of just washi paper and glue. At the museum, visitors can also attend a one-hour workshop to learn to make giboshu — the symbol that sits on top of the lantern. It’s worth taking part to learn from an expert. However, if you want to make more giboshu later, you can purchase a kit from the museum.

Where: 1606-2 Yamaga, Kumamoto (map)

Matsunaga Japanese Sword Forge

One of the most unique craft experiences in Kumamoto is the chance to shape a piece of iron at Matsunaga Japanese Sword Forge. You’ll first watch a demonstration of how craftsmen make katana, after which you’ll use a hammer and anvil in the forge pit to try out the technique for yourself. Next, you’ll watch how a katana can cut a rolled bamboo mat — and learn how to do it yourself with a single strike.

Where: 1907-80 Kawanobori, Arao, Kumamoto (map)

Japan Art Gallery Lucky

Learn calligraphy through a one- or two-hour class at Japan Art Gallery Lucky. You’ll see how handwriting is an art form and create your own paintings that you can take home with you.

Where: 3-1-11 Tsuboi, Chuo-ku Bonne Journee 1F, Kumamoto (map)

Once you’ve had the experience of making crafts yourself, you’ll find it much more interesting to view pottery, glassworks, calligraphy, and other pieces. Make sure you leave enough time in your schedule to visit some of the exhibitions and watch demonstrations for the more complex crafts.

Wolcott, Katherine, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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