Makie Painting Lacquerware Experience at Suzuzen

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.

Venue Details

Venue Details
Websitehttps://suzuzen.com/facility/taiken/(Japanese)
Contact

Suzuzen

(+81) 242-22-0680

Best SeasonAll Year
Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (4:00 PM for Makie experience)

Closed: New Year's Day

ParkingFree parking available (Space for 25 cars and 4 large buses)
Entrance FeeFrom 1,900 yen per person for Makie experience.
Related infoAllow at least 1 hour for the Makie experience. Reservations can be made in advance by phone or contact form.
The Makie experience is available for groups of 2 or more people.

On-site cafe is closed on Tuesdays.
Access Details
AccessChuo 1-3-28, Aizu-Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Pref. 965-0037
View directions
Getting there
  • 15 min on foot from Nanukamachi Station (JR Tadami Line)
  • 10 min walk from Aizuwakamatsu Station (JR Ban-etsu West Line, JR Tadami Line)
  • 25 min on foot from Tsurugajo Castle.

Nearby

The World Glassware Hall
Cultural Experiences

Ride the Oza-Toro-Tembo Train

The Oza-Toro-Tembo Train is a limited-service sightseeing train which is operated during selected days of the peak tourist seasons. The train has three carriages - the oza carriage (which has a tatami-floor), the torokko (tram) carriage, and the tembo (observation deck) carriage. Stretch out and relax in the tatami carriage with its sunken kotatsu (heated table) in autumn, take in Aizu's nature and air from the tram carriage, and revel in the fantastic scenery that await you through the expansive windows of the observation deck carriage. The train runs along the Aizu Railway tracks, meaning you can hop off at various points to visit places such as Ouchi-juku (a 15 minute taxi ride from Yunokami Onsen Station), and To-no-Hetsuri Crags, among others. For information about when this train runs this year, please check out this link (Japanese).

The World Glassware Hall
Outdoor Activities

Mt. Bandai

Originally known as Iwahashi-yama, literally a rock ladder to the sky, the renamed Mt. Bandai is no less impressive. Often referred to as 'Aizu's Mt. Fuji', Mt. Bandai is one of the 100 most famous mountains in Japan, and has even been selected as one of the top 100 geographic landmarks in Japan. In 2011, the mountain was certified as a geopark, which is a unified area with geological heritage and international significance, as defined by UNESCO. There are seven climbing routes for Mt. Bandai, with the trail starting at the Happodai trailhead being the most popular, and easiest route. From the Happodai trailhead, the 3.5 km route takes around 2 hours to reach the summit. The various routes range from 2 to 4 hours and from 3 to 7 km. At Koubou Shimizu, one of the mountain stops, there are two shops where trekkers can buy drinks, snacks, and souvenirs, but please note that there is no accommodation available. For many Buddhist mountain fanatics, Mt. Bandai holds a place of great significance. Enichi-ji Temple, located on the southwestern foot of Mt. Bandai, is a popular temple to visit nearby. The mountains situated around the temple make for a serene vista where one can feel the power of nature. Enichi-ji Temple was founded one year after Mt. Bandai erupted, in 807 C.E.; in the past, some superstitious people believed there was a connection between the eruption and the temple’s founding... Interestingly, Mt. Bandai used to be shaped more like the famous Mt. Fuji, but after a volcanic eruption in 1888, the shape changed to what we see today. It is thanks to that eruption that the mountain gained its rugged, sharp look and the Urabandai area behind Mt. Bandai was created. For non-hikers, the Bandaisan Gold Line is a popular sightseeing road that leads up the southwestern side and offers brilliant vistas of the foliage, especially in autumn when the colors change.

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.

The World Glassware Hall
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!

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Chinkin Taiken (Sunken-Gold Design Experience)
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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.

Makie Painting at Suzutake Workshop
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Makie Painting at Suzutake Workshop

Suzutake workshop tours began in the 1950s as a way of providing families with a chance to learn about the history and artistry of lacquerware. Even today, visitors are able to actually see artisans at work at three key stages of the Aizu lacquerware making process: 1) applying a base layer of unrefined lacquer or astringent liquid to wood; 2) adding additional layers of lacquer in a desired style, and 3) adding hand-drawn delicate designs ('makie') using either colored lacquer or gold and silver power (a technique called 'Sunken gold makie'). Visitors can also take part in a makie-painting experience.

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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).

Aizu Hongo Pottery Workshops
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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!

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