Artificial traditional techniques passed down and improved from generation to generation with a history. Art of Japan’s first pottery, bamboo basket weaved silently by a craftsman and so on. Varieties of traditional techniques still live today, which were born and has taken root in the climate and culture of each region in Kyushu. A modern design pottery created by an old technique which makes you feel a sign of rebirth or cute ornaments which make you breaking into a smile. The technique enriches our mind. Now, come over and travel around to experience the inherited techniques in Kyushu!
Sengan-en, the Shimazu family’s garden built in 1658, is a great scale of Japanese garden borrowing the spectacular view of Sakurajima volcano and Kinko-gulf as ‘tsukiyama,’ an artificial hill, and a pond. Inside this historic garden, there are various must-see places, one of which is the foundations of a reverberating furnace, registered as World Cultural Heritage Site in July 2015 as part of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution. When Nariakira Shimazu ordered to build this furnace for manufacturing iron cannons, a Dutch book was the only reference available for the construction. The palace called ‘Goten,’ where VIP guests used to stay, and the hydro power plant dam relics are also recommended to visit. Another popular location Tsurumine shrine is considered to be a spiritual power spot which gives those who visit or worship there beauty. Sengan-en also has restaurants and souvenir shops. Enjoying the view of Sakurajima over Kagoshima cuisine is another shining quality.
Scenic and historic Sengan-en at Kagoshima
A styled combination of dignified beauty and pliancy, the unique Beppu bamboo ware is known as a government-designated Traditional Craft. The high quality of ‘madake’ bamboo which grows in and around Beppu city is used to make various complex products such as baskets for putting flowers in. The highly diverse and intricate weaving crafts make them appealing to all kinds of people. According to the Japanese oldest chronicle ‘Nihon-shoki,’ when Emperor Keiko and his company visited Beppu on their way back from conquering Kumaso-tribe, one of his servants found the great quality of slender bamboo and used it for weaving baskets to put bowls in. Making bamboo craft requires various steps. First of all, the bamboo is chopped down and then prepared for processing before cut into smaller pieces. The strips are then rounded off and groomed, and finally used as weaving material. The weaving techniques performed by skilled craftsmen are simply superb. Why don’t you enjoy the experience of making your own bamboo ware there?
Beppu Bamboo Craft at Oita
With its pleasant texture and simple coloration, the Kurume-kasuri textile, manufactured in and around Kurume city, Fukuoka prefecture, evokes somehow a sense of nostalgia. In the beginning of the 19th century, a 12 year-old young girl got the idea from faded thread of her old cotton clothes and started dyeing and weaving the fabric. Local farmers followed her lead, and creating ‘kasuri’ became a popular side business of farmers in Chikugo area, spreading its name as people’s clothes across the country. Producing the fabric requires thirty different steps of handworks. There is a procedure called ‘kukuri,’ where the threads are twined tightly enough so that kasuri patterns are protected from dye. This procedure, along with the skills of twining professionals, is considered to create the textile with great depth. Over recent years, combination of the traditional method with modern taste has been seen often in newly designed products such as accessories and clothes, gathering even more attention than before.
Kurume-kasuri textile at Fukuoka
Arita Ware is the porcelain which laid the foundation of Japanese ceramic ware. It has a long history going back to early 17th century when Korean potters found porcelain clay, materials of pottery, in Izumiyama, Arita Town, and baked pottery for the first time in Japan. That’s the start of long history of Japanese pottery. In those days, potteries were shipped from the Imari Port, as Arita did not face the sea. So people came to call them Imari ware. Arita wares are now known in foreign countries as “IMARI” which has long played a key role in introducing Japanese traditional beauty to the world. The design of Arita pottery has gradually changed due to the times and through relationship with foreign countries. Arita ware has developed many styles of arts including “early Imari style” in which patterns were painted in indigo blue and “Kinrande style” in which red and gold paints were abundantly used. We offer pottery demonstrations by a potter. There is also a facility where you can make drawings on pottery. Why don’t you try it as a memory of your trip?