Dubai – MENA Herald: As an affiliated organization of Kyoto City Municipal Government, Kyoto Traditional Industry Foundation manages Fureaikan, the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts, which systematizes, promotes and facilitates better understanding of the features of 74 categories of Kyoto traditional industries with the cooperation of all the associations of local crafts.
Taking advantage of its exceptional network of craftsmen, the Foundation is introducing “Kyoto Artisans Concierge” ( http://www.kyotoartisans.jp/en/ ) which provides a rare opportunity to visit private studios for hands-on experience of local traditional crafts.
Being the cultural heart of Japan with more than 1,000 years of history as the imperial capital, Kyoto carries on inherited arts and crafts while constantly introducing new ones. Even today Kyotoites support and maintain the traditional Japanese culture gems such as tea ceremony, flower arrangement or Noh theatre adapting them to the modern lifestyle. Kyoto is a city of exquisite craftsmanship, and many tourists wish to visit the places where the finest pieces of art are born, to observe the demonstrations of craft skills of artisans in the creative atmosphere of their studios, to have a hand-on experience and to purchase traditional craft items. Kyoto Artisans Concierge is the bridge that connects people in search of such genuine experiences with artisans. We invite you to discover the hidden treasures of Kyoto for a valuable and unique travel experience.
The website is available in English, and easy to search atelierss by craft field, purpose and by area, and many of them cost less than JPY 1,000 (USD 10). You can simply submit your request, and Kyoto Artisans Concierge will arrange your visits. Some even accept same day appointments. You can also request the arrangement through hotel concierge, or tour operators.
Says Seiji Hatta, Managing Director Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts: “Tourists will enjoy meeting with real Kyotoites who keep artistry and traditional craftsmanship for several generations. We also wish to revitalize Kyoto traditional industries affected by the unfortunate decline in demand in recent years“
One of the 20 studios welcoming visitors is the lantern maker, Kobishiya Chube, founded about 220 years ago. Two brothers Shun and Ryo Kojima continue the jibari-shiki lantern making technique which is unique to Kyoto. The manufacturing method consists of creating a lantern frame by bending bamboo strips into individual rings and fixing them together with hemp strings, which results in the production of tough lanterns easy to repair. As a fair amount of time and effort is put into each lantern, this method has become rare in recent years, but Kobishiya Chube continues to provide temples, shrines, shops and restaurants with high quality lanterns. You can book a studio visit and small lantern making experience at JPY 3,800 (USD 38) at http://www.kyotoartisans.jp/en/
Says Mr. Hatta: “We also provide traditional craft demonstrations 5 days a week at Fureaikan, the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts. The entrance fee is free. Japan is renowned for modern technology, but you will have better understanding how we achieve the status by looking at the long history of craftsmanship. “