Tag Archives: 2013

2013/2014 most popular walk in Japan: “Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?” in Tokyo

Our most popular Yes in Japan walk since 2013 is “Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?” in Tokyo (walk W14B)! From France, Israel, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, the Philippines and the USA… everybody looked happy 🙂 If you are interested in Japanese art, traditions and religion, you can join this walk in English 3 mornings/evenings every week in April, and probably every week of 2014/2015.

Insight into art: Crane-shaped origami at an origami centre in Tokyo in 2014.

We typically see many types of Washi handmade paper, origami, Japanese paper dolls, lucky charms, prayer plaques, statues of gods such as Ebisu, golden lanterns (wonderful when lit up at night), holy trees, a holy rock, and the inside of a colourful Shinto shrine… If you are lucky, you may also see a very cute holy horse, see a paper folding demonstration by a cheerful Japanese master, and meet artists! One of our American customers could even try a gorgeous samurai helmet made from paper at the workshop of the origami centre; this was a great sight 🙂

Kanda-myojin at night: statue of the god Daikoku.

Unexpectedly, most participants do shopping during this walk, buying beautiful Japanese paper, cute prayer plaques or unique lucky charms! This walk is really nice in any season, with a blue sky, rain or snow. When you stay in Tokyo, consider joining this walk starting at Hotel Niwa Tokyo (near Suidobashi station).

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Art of paper folding = 折り紙 (Origami), Japanese paper = 和紙 (Washi).
  • Shinto shrine = 神社 (jinja).
  • Suidobashi station = 水道橋駅 (Suidobashi-eki), Tokyo = 東京.
  • Hotel Niwa Tokyo = 庭のホテル東京 (Niwa-no-hotelu-Tokyo).

Meet great Japanese artisans: sculptor of miniature gods and Buddhas…

Have you ever met and discussed with a Japanese artisan? Reputed for high-quality gorgeous products (traditional or modern), artisans in Japan typically live in quiet districts or in the countryside and rarely speak English so foreign tourists have few opportunities to know them…

We had the chance to meet Kanesaka-sensei, a sculptor of marvellous miniature gods and Buddhas, at an event promoting the Fukushima prefecture held at Tokyo International Forum on 23 December 2013. This kind joyful artist was moving and impressive, and we will gladly meet him again in his city (Aizu)! Our photos show you Kanesaka-sensei with our team member Sébastien, Shinto and Buddhist miniature statues, a nut containing the 7 Gods of Fortune, and another containing the gods Ebisu and Daikoku.

Japanese artisan Kanesaka-sensei with Sébastien.

Shinto and Buddhist miniature statues.

To fully appreciate the statues, you should turn the nuts in your hands while admiring with a magnifier… Art lovers and fans of Japan would certainly enjoy the experience and wish to bring back a (personalized?) handmade gift or souvenir!

Miniature statue: nut containing the 7 Gods of Fortune.

Miniature statue: nut containing Ebisu and Daikoku.

Because Japanese artisans are dedicated and skilled, we recommend you to meet one at his/her workshop or shop during your stay in Japan if you wish to discover Japanese crafts and meet Japanese people. Plan ahead to get an appointment, hire a knowledgeable interpreter and maybe find an illustrated book in English to bring back home afterwards. If you end up far from Tokyo or Kyoto, take the opportunity to savour regional food, discover a little-known area, and send local postcards to your friends and family 🙂 What kind of great artisan would you like to meet on holidays in Japan? Why?

Special thanks to Kanesaka-sensei for his explanations and for allowing us to use his photo.

USEFUL LINKS

 

USEFUL JAPANESE
  • Artisan = 職人 (shokunin), Miniature sculpture = 微細彫刻 (Bisai-chokoku).
  • Daikoku = 大黒 = 大黒天 (Daikoku-ten), Ebisu = 恵比寿.
  • 7 Gods of Fortune = 七福神 (Shichi-fukujin).