Wagashi more than 300 years history

By Ramata Cisse Did you know that wagashi (和菓子) was more than just a Japanese sweet? Like the Japanese often do, they have turned something so simple as sweets into an art, one that will entice and take over all five of your senses. Crafted to represent the four seasons, one look at wagashi and […]

Kanda Festival and Sanno Festival Tokyo

By Mike Sullivan. The Kanda Festival, or Kanda Matsuri, is a very famous event which takes place in mid May in odd numbered years, for example as this year is 2014 it will not be possible to see it, but next year in 2015 the main festival will take place. It first started in the […]

Japanese Gardens

By Ramata Cisse. Landscape Garden @ Kenninji Temple / MrHicks46 Art often takes on many forms. Be it a a drawing, a photograph, a poem or even a garden. In Japan, the art of designing a garden is a skill that has been honed for over a thousand years and the results continue to be […]

Edo Kiriko Glassware – Beautiful Crafts that resulted from European Influence

By Mike Sullivan A typical image of Japanese people, and in particular of traditional Japanese people eating or drinking, would feature cups and plates but nothing made out of glass, even when we think of sake cups the common image is of something made out of ceramics. It therefore might be surprising to hear that […]

Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival

By Mike Sullivan Traditionally when people think of seeing cherry blossoms in Japan they think of late March to April, however perhaps not so well known is that it is possible to enjoy the blossoming of these beautiful trees from February in the countryside. One of the most well-known places is in Kawazu, in Shizuoka […]

Japanese Interior Kites – More than just a Toy

By Mike Sullivan A surprising aspect behind Japanese kites is that they date back to the Nara period (649-794 AD) when Buddhist missionaries in China introduced them to Japan. Quickly they spread across the country where they were used in rituals and were quickly adapted to the local culture of each village and town. In […]

Interview with Kayo Saito – Jewelry Artisan originally from Tokyo

By Mike Sullivan Please introduce yourself and your background. I studied craft design and metal work at Japanese Art College in Tokyo. Then, I became a product designer working in a glass ware company. It was a fantastic experience but I learned that I would rather make something from beginning to end by myself.  I […]

Kimono – Traditional Japanese Clothing

By Ramata Cisse In a previous article I wrote about a part of the Kimono known as Obi, the sash used to tie a kimono. In that article I discussed the different kinds of Obi that exist, their history and the way they are tied as well as what that meant in terms of meaning […]

New Year’s in Japan

New Year’s in Japan. By Saneyuki Owada It is almost the New Year season. Have you enjoyed your Christmas? In Japan, 31st of December and New Year’s day are the most important days for Japanese people. It is quite a contrast to Western countries, I have heard Christmas is the most important event for Western […]

Obi – Traditional Japanese Clothing

By Ramata Cisse While in Nara this summer, my friend and I stopped by an art museum that featured wood block paintings, but also traditional Japanese clothing from over 100 years ago. Of course each an every one of these were absolutely exquisite, but what caught my attention was when my friend pointed out one […]

Sendai Tansu – Traditional and Cultural Furniture

By Mike Sullivan It is, quite frankly, a piece of furniture which you might never see, in terms of luxury it is of a particularly high standard and requires a lot of saving to be able to afford one. The Sendai tansu are prized as antiques for collectors, but are also available for sale by […]

Shunga Exhibition – British Museum London

By Ramata Cisse Last week, thanks to Japan Centre, I was lucky enough to attend a lecture at the British Museum: Shunga into Manga.  The lecture was quite short, and seemed to be over in an instant, but was packed full with many different themes and topics on the subject of shunga. Kitagawa Utamaro (d. […]