Aizu Urushi Lacquerware

Aizu Urushi Lacquerware

Aizu Urushi Lacquerware has a very long history – predating lacquerware from Wajima or Tsushima. Aizu Lacquerware was originally produced in areas of Aizu that experience very heavy annual snowfall. The industry began to boom about 400 years ago - this development was initiated by feudal lord Gamo Ujisato’s endorsement of Aizu Lacquerware. From then onwards, techniques used in the production of Aizu Lacquerware were refined and Aizu Lacquerware became very famous in Japan.
 

You can make your paint your own design onto Aizu Lacquerware items, or even try painting with lacquer, in Aizu region.

Makie Painting Experience Workshops

Suzuzen (Aizu-Wakamatsu City)

Suzutake (Aizu-Wakamatsu City)

Bansho (Aizu-Wakamatsu City)

  • From 1,200 yen 
  • Irregular opening hours in winter
  • Website (Japanese)

Fukubun (Aizu-Wakamatsu City)

  • From 1,600 yen
  • Irregular opening hours
  • Must book in advance
  • Website (Japanese)

Shitsugei Tsunoda (Urabandai Area)

  • From 1,000 yen
  • They also have an experience where you can paint with real lacquer (From 10,000 yen)
  • Must book in advance
  • Website (Japanese)

Venue Details

Venue Details
Best SeasonAll Year
Related infoOpening hours, variety of lacquerware objects to paint, prices etc vary by workshop
Access Details
AccessVarious workshops concentrated around Aizu-Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture

Nearby

The World Glassware Hall
Outdoor Activities

Ozegahara Marsh

Ozegahara Marsh is a high-altitude marshland located in Oze National Park. This 8 square kilometer marshland is a popular hiking destination and is home to some rare plants, including white skunk cabbage, Nikko Kisuge, and Watasuge (a variant of cottongrass). Hiking trails at Ozegahara are well-maintained and used almost year-round for hikers, except in winter when the park is often closed due to snow. Being just 150 kilometers from Tokyo makes Ozegahara and the rest of Oze National Park a popular getaway from city life. Some people will even drive up early in the morning, hike the day away, and then return to Tokyo the same day. It’s admittedly a tough trip if you choose to do it all in one day. Instead, why not stay the night in one of the overnight lodgings and huts within the park grounds? There's also the option of staying at a minshuku (private homes that provide meals and lodging for tourists) in Hinoemata Onsen town. However you choose to travel to Ozegahara, you won’t be disappointed. The marshland has hundreds of small pools that are a beauty to admire. Two mountains, Shibutsusan and Mt. Hiuchigatake, almost seem to stand guard over those who admire the lovely marshland scenery. The most popular trail to hike is the Hatomachitoge, as it is only a one-hour walk from the western end of the marshland. Visit in late May to early June to enjoy the famous white skunk cabbages as they bloom across Ozegahara. In July and August, the marshlands are painted a gentle yellow by the Nikko Kisuge flowers. And in September and October, the autumn colors bathe the marshland in bright gold and crimson.

The World Glassware Hall
Outdoor Activities

Watersports at S.A.Y (Lake Inawashiro)

A wakeboard shop located on the northwest shore of Lake Inawashiro in Fukushima Prefecture. It offers easy access from the Kanto region, bypassing major traffic congestion. Individuals and beginners are welcome. A specialized beginner's course is available, allowing even first-timers to enjoy their time on the water, and all necessary equipment can be rented. Bookings can be made even for 1 person. Why not spend a day enjoying the beautiful, clear waters of Lake Inawashiro, one of the most breathtaking lakes in Japan?

The World Glassware Hall
Arts & Crafts

Makie Painting Lacquerware Experience at Suzuzen

Suzuzen was established in 1833 as a lacquerware wholesale shop. Not only can visitors see process of lacquerware being finished using gold and silver dusted designs called 'Makie', but visitors can also have the opportunity to design their own lacquered product using Makie design techniques, which is perfect to take home as a souvenir. Suzuzen is made up of 6 kura (Japanese-style warehouses), which have been renovated. The Suzuzen warehouses include a gallery featuring pieces by contemporary artists who use lacquer in their work, and a cafe which is open for lunch. English-language signs also make the history of lacquer in Aizu accessible for overseas visitors.

The World Glassware Hall
Cultural Experiences

Tsukimigaoka Chomin Center

Tsukimigaoka Chomin Center (a town hall-turned-hotel which is only a 20-minute walk from Aizu Yanaizu Station) is known for their famous sauce katsudon lunch. This dish contains fried pork cutlet and a simple egg omelet on rice which is covered with a savory sauce that simply melts in your mouth. There are other places in Yanaizu that serve the katsudon dish as well, but according to local opinion, the katsudon at Yanaizu Chomin Center is hard to beat. Why not stop by and fill your stomach before taking in the other local sights? There are even some great shared hot spring baths, which can be enjoyed as day visit onsen. There are plenty of nearby attractions. Enjoy your time hiking or fishing or at the nearby Kiyoshi Saito Museum of Art or the beautiful and serene Enzoji Temple. Kiyoshi Saito Museum of Art houses works by esteemed woodblock artist Kiyoshi Saito and the beautiful works he created throughout his lifetime. At the Enzoji Temple experience tranquility and nature, also learn about the origin legend of the akabeko, the nodding red cow famous in the area. And only a 15-minute drive away you can look at the No. 1 Tadami River Bridge View Spot; this bridge offers a spectacular sight of the Tadami River and the surrounding nature.

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Chinkin Taiken (Sunken-Gold Design Experience)
Arts & Crafts

Chinkin Taiken (Sunken-Gold Design Experience)

The Tradition of Aizu lacquerware in Fukushima Prefecture has continued for 400 years. Try out creating a design on Aizu Lacquerware with a technique called Chinkin ("Sunken-gold") at Tsunoda Lacquer Art Studio. Sketch your design on tracing paper, and then mark it onto the lacqerware with a needle. Tsunoda san will help you fill the grooves created by your needle with gold and silver powder to create your design. Alternatively, try painting your own design on Aizu lacquerware at the studio. Either experience will create a great souvenir of your trip in Japan. These experiences take about an hour.

Aizu Hongo Pottery Workshops
Arts & Crafts

Aizu Hongo Pottery Workshops

A little-known treasure, Aizu Hongo pottery (known in Japanese as 'hongo-yaki') is the oldest type of pottery in the Tohoku region. Aizu Hongo pottery's history dates back to the Warring States Period (1467 – 1615), when Ujisato Gamo, leader of the Aizu clan, ordered renovations be made to Tsurugajo Castle. The production of ceramic tiles for the castle roof kick-started the tradition of making pottery in Aizu-Misato Town. During the early 1600s, Masayuki Hoshina (who founded the Matsudaira house) invited ceramic craftsmen to Aizu-Misato from Owari - a region famous for its pottery - in order to increase the skills of locals. It was from this time that Aizu Hongo-yaki production began in earnest. At the peak of its popularity, there were more than 100 potteries in the town. There are currently 13 left, which are centered around Setomachi in Aizu-Misato. The rich variety of wares produced from workshop to workshop is just one of the fascinating things about visiting the area. Aizu-Misato Town is also known for the area's unusual ability to produce both great-quality earthenware and delicate porcelain. Please enjoy taking a look around the various shops, workshops, and kilns, and try making pottery for yourself!

Aizu Painted Candles Craft Experience
Arts & Crafts

Aizu Painted Candles Craft Experience

Aizu Erosoku (painted candles) are sumptuous items that were long-prized among samurai families. Delicate and vivid patterns such as chrysanthemums, plum blossoms, and peonies are painted onto candles made of natural Japan wax extracted from the fruits of lacquer trees. Each candle is still painstakingly painted one by one, and they serve as regal decorations in Shinto and Buddhist ceremonies and weddings. A candle painting experience is available at Ozawa Candle Shop (Reservation required).

Makie Painting Lacquerware Experience at Suzuzen
Arts & Crafts

Makie Painting Lacquerware Experience at Suzuzen

Suzuzen was established in 1833 as a lacquerware wholesale shop. Not only can visitors see process of lacquerware being finished using gold and silver dusted designs called 'Makie', but visitors can also have the opportunity to design their own lacquered product using Makie design techniques, which is perfect to take home as a souvenir. Suzuzen is made up of 6 kura (Japanese-style warehouses), which have been renovated. The Suzuzen warehouses include a gallery featuring pieces by contemporary artists who use lacquer in their work, and a cafe which is open for lunch. English-language signs also make the history of lacquer in Aizu accessible for overseas visitors.

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