The Japan Traditional Craft Center just west of Tokyo's Ikebukuro station is a must-see for anyone interested in Japanese arts and crafts.
The objects on display and sale in the Center must fulfil a number of strict rules, among them being that the article is used mainly in everyday life, is primarily manufactured by hand, is manufactured using traditional techniques that are at least a century old, is formed mainlyof traditional materials, and is of a regional nature.
The Center is operated by the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Products, which is made up of local craft associations and local governments.
It has a library that is free of charge for study and reference, stocked with books, periodicals, and even films, on traditional Japanese crafts.
Best of all, the Center often features an actual craftsperson who can be seen working at his craft (see picture above of a Buddhist altar carver).
Both the items on sale and the permanent display change regularly, and feature such things as textiles, ceramics, lacquerware, bamboo ware, wood craft, metalwork, Japanese paper, household Buddhist altars, stationery, fans, dolls, stonework, folding screens (byobu), and more. It is the ideal place for that something special, and the price range allows for almost any budget.
On the second Friday of every month, you can even have a kimono-wearing lesson (reservations required.)
The Japan Traditional Craft Center
1st to 3rd floor, Metropolitan Plaza Building,
1-11-1 Nishi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku,
Tokyo 171-0021, Japan.
Tel. 03-5954-6066 Fax. 03-5954-6036
Hours: 11am - 7pm, every day. (Closed Dec 31 - Jan 3)
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