The arts and crafts scene for kids

RBR – The New Center for Creative Arts offers various creative art programs. Check out their Website: or
1-5-15 Moto Azabu, Minato-ku
(just across from the Korean Embassy)

Tel. (03) 5475-6171
Urahara-geidai Art School

The Urahara-geidai art school is found In Uraharajuku, a part of Harajuku that attracts cutting-edge artists and designers.
The school was established two years ago by contemporary artist SAKURA Yasuyuki. Their slogan is “All roads lead to art”
The school is located in an atelier converted from a small room in a multi-tenant building and people of all ages from children to the elderly come here to enjoy art classes.
Urahara-geidai currently offers about 20 various courses. They include “Colorful Children”, a wall painting class where students get to paint pictures directly on the whilte walls of the atelier, “Vege Taberu Labo,” where students learn how to enjoy eating and preparing vegetables; “Remake Remake,” a class for learning how to give old clothes new life.
Handicraft classes are also gaining in popularity. One is a class for creating small objects out of felt.
“Oishii Shodo” is a unique calligraphy class conducted by a calligraphy designer. In this class, students eat food and express its taste with kanji. They an also use items other than brushes such as seaweed. “Tanka no Kai” offers opportunities to write your own tanka (a form of Japanese poetry) on a strip of paper. Students also create a stamp that they can use instead of writing a signature.
The schools offer a variety of classes for non-Japanese to casually enjoy Japanese culture.
Another popular class among non-Japanese is “Harajuku Nihongo Juku” which is taught by a Japanese man working in Tsukiji Market. In this class, students learn Japanese using topics familiar to them and also go on excursions to landmarks and tourist spots in Tokyo to get hands-on experience of Japanese culture. The class not only allows non-Japanese to learn the Japanese language and culture but also gives Japanese great opportunities to rediscover their own country. Sakura who plans these classes, describes the moment that something is created by an “encounter” as “art”.
To find out more, visit their website:
For access info, go to:
For enquiries, use their online contact form:
Source: Hiragana Magazine; Urahara-geidai website

ArtLOFT Ebisu School of Art offers unique and popular art programs. Students learn at their own pace in a friendly supportive environment. pastels, watercolor and oil painting. Students ages 5 through adult are welcome. Introductory class for 3,150 yen. Ph: 03-3448-8070 Add: ITO No. 3 Bldg 402, 4-4-5 Ebisu, Shibuya
Family Art Workshops: English Through Art with Liane Wakabayashi
Little Artists – an afterschool artschool
Indigo dieing at Nihon Minka-en (Japan Open Air Folk Museum) the museum itself is amazing (see ) go on a weekend though for lots and lots of other folk village activities. Weekdays, indigo tie-dying is definitely available.
PRIVATE WORKSHOP INDIGO Dyeing Studio “Yumezaiku” Want to experience Japanese culture? If yes, then there is a good place to go.In Tsutsumi, you can find a special studio of the traditional Japanese art, Indigo dyeing. The studio is named “Chigasaki Yumezaiku”, which implies they make your dreams come true! You can have brief lessons and dye whatever you want; clothes, handkerchief, kitchen cloth, etc. You can create the pattern designyourself, so it would be making the experience ever more rewarding.Usually you can have them in about two hours. Mr. and Mrs. Kato are the owners and are very friendly so lessons would be very enjoyable. They carefully show you how to dye cloth sothere is no need to worry if you lack dyeing knowledge. The studioitself is located on a hill, surrounded by a wooded area, so it is a nice place to relax too. Mr. and Mrs. Kato are also fluent in English, so why don’t you visit them and experience Indigo dyeing?
STUDIO CHIGASAKI YUMEZAIKUAdd) 1700-1 Tsutsumi, Chigasaki Tel) 0467-54-5401 Open) 10:0016:00※Closed on TuesdayCharge) \2,000 plus coloring costs ・Appointment is necessary.・Owner is fluent in English, French, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese.
Bryan Whitehead, a Canadian silkworm cultivator who has woven and dyed his own silk for more than 10 years, will hold a 10-week indigo-themed textile workshop every Saturday starting next month in Fujinomachi, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The basic-level workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to experience shibori (tie-dyeing), stencil dyeing and silk cocoon reeling. Students also will learn how to make tenugui towels and traditional Japanese bags. Each course costs 5,000 yen, including materials. For inquiries and brochures, e-mail Whitehead
Gankoyama is an eco-village located in Boso, Chiba prefecture, which both a fun as well as educational place for families or school groups. Designed to help people understand the importance of forests and conservation. All sorts of great hands on and outdoor nature activities: building your own tree house or furniture, bows and arrows, cooking campfire style with food gathered in the forest – in a self-sufficient sustainable tree house village! No electricity at all powers the campsite, only sustainable resources! Nevertheless, you get to stay in clean pleasant treehouse cabins (not your own which will be torn down and materials reused). Visit the website for information and their picture gallery. The site has links to articles in Metropolis and Outdoor Japan which you can read in English as well.
You can try your hand at pottery in 11/2 to 2 hr sessions at this studio in Yokohama and they will mail you your fired finished piece at Motomachi Yokohama, an easy journey from Tokyo, combine it with a visit to Sankeien Park, top attraction (most beautiful J garden in Kanto) for visitors to Tokyo or Yokohama.
Japanese pottery at studio in Tokyo contact details at this one is a central location in Tokyo
Shinohara Wind Chimes (see J wind chimes are very beautiful. Access map at is the only place in Japan that makes wind chimes from glass (known as Edo Furin). Use this opportunity to come to the workshop, make your own wind chime and let its gentle sound brighten up your life. This tour will take you to where the glassblowers work. You will be able to blow and shape your own glass into your own unique Japanese wind chime – the ultimate Japanese souvenir to take home!
Itinerary / Activity Schedule
– Glass-blowing demonstration
– Hands-on glass blowing instruction
– Learn about the history of wind chime and wind chime painting
– Hands-on wind chime painting
– Visit to Shinohara Wind Chimes
– Hands-on glass-blowing and wind chime painting demonstration and instruction
– Certified tour guide-interpreter in English
If you are visiting Hakone as most visitors to Tokyo do (combine it with visit to the fumaroles Jigokudani Hell Valley for geology field trip!), then visit Gora-koen Park where  you can enjoy viewing seasonal flowers, along with trying your hand at blowing glass, sandblasting, and making pottery and drying flowers at the craft house.
Or alternatively visit the Hakone Glass Forest for Venetian glass blowing workshop (although the latter workshop is not Japanese). See
Highly recommended! THE OKAYAMA VILLAS (Web site )
nightly rates are a very reasonable 2000 yen – 3000 yen per person. Each house has four or five Western or Japanese rooms and visitors share common living facilities.
A great place for Japanese village life and craft activities immersion is if you can make to stay at any of the 5 villas at Okayama: Reservations at any one of the five villas can be made through the which is Reservations at any one of the five villas can be made through the Okayama International Center, which is a couple minutes’ walk from Okayama Station, but you’re responsible for getting there, bringing your own food, cooking it and keeping the kitchen clean. The villas contain washing machines, a major plus for those who are spending weeks on the backpacking trail. Fukiya is pretty close to the traditional postcard image of Japan that many visitors, especially from the West, come seeking, but fail to find. For many Japanese, especially those who were not born and raised in the huge metropolitan centers, brews up nostalgia about getting back to basics, about small traditional villages, close families, and friendly neighbors.
At the Sabukaze Craft Center, you can explore the history of Bizen ware and even try your hand at creating your own work. Ushimado lies on the eastern side of Okayama Prefecture, and is not too far from Himeji.
All kitchens come fully supplied with pots and pans and utensils, and futons are included, but you must bring your own food. However, it is strongly advised that you stock up in and around Okayama Station or elsewhere before setting out for the villas, as several of them, particularly Fukiya and Hattoji, are quite remote.
During the day, visitors can enjoy hiking, canoeing, bicycling and fishing, as well as the local cuisine, which includes everything from excellent mountain vegetables lightly fried in a tempura style to fresh fish caught from the lakes, rivers, and ocean. Soba fiends will be happy to learn that near the Hattoji Villa is a restaurant where visitors, with the assistance of a master chef, can make, and eat, their own soba. At night, return to your villa, sit around the irori — the wood-burning hearth found in traditional Japanese-style houses — and chat about your day’s adventures with other guests.
Read article review about it at
Visit the Paper Museum in Kita-ward, Tokyo for its workshops on washi paper-making. URL:
There’s a  a lady who instructs privately in English or Japanese - Reiko Takahashi. She lives in Chiba - tel 0471-85-9589 but comes into Tokyo frequently. She also teaches Japanese cooking, clay craft, screen covering, washi craft, kimekomi dolls and mini kimono.

Also recommend visiting Odawara Castle (look under the blog field tripper's section) great experience as well as some warrior gear that you can try on and take photos of yourself with it on.


I think as museums go, the Edo-Tokyo Museum is fantastic and hands on with lots of beautiful really huge and open displays, and probably has lots of workshops that you can attend with English assistance. For the samurai experience, this is best on a whirlwind tour, the other one would be the Ninja Theme Park.
But one of the best cultural experiences is of course to visit the World Heritage Takayama village where you will get to see the full array of rice cultivation, silkworm raising, folk crafts plus the nearby Hida samurai post town: Takayama: Located in the Japan Alps and surrounded by mountain peaks, this former castle town has a delightful historic quarter with 18th-century merchant homes, sake breweries, special-interest museums, craft shops, restaurants, and Japanese inns, all easy to explore on foot. Another highlight is the Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village, an open-air museum illustrating how local farmers once lived – museum sounds boring, but it’s actually the real town conserved. If you don’t have time for this trip, then you’ll have to make do with the ones in Tokyo, like the above recommended activities.
Visit a green tea plantation for various tea related activities between 800 – 2,000 yen and soba-noodle-making activity at 1,300 yen.
Okkujyano-sato-kouen, Daigo-machi, Ibaragi. Phone: 0295-78-0511 Combine with a visit to the nearby Fukurodanotaki See for access info.
For fascinating archaeological tours

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