The Magic of Copperware Masterpieces at Gyokusendo
Take a tour to discover the rich culture and history of tsuiki metalworking in Niigata
The Gyokusendo copperware work studio in Tsubame City, Niigata Prefecture is a special place dedicated to the unique Japanese metalworking technique known as tsuiki. Derived from the Japanese words for “raise” and “hammer,” this time-honored craft employs a range of anvils and hammers—and skilled craftspeople—to create a host of unique copperware items, for both practical and decorative use.
Preserving this artform today are the artisans at Gyokusendo, whose every strike is carefully performed not to stretch the copper, but rather to shrink it. Gyokusendo’s copperware also eschews paint in favor of finishing through oxidizing methods that have been developed and refined over generations. Due to the painstaking nature of the technique, this is a process solely done by hand, making every vessel a masterpiece of its own.
Get up close with the production process by watching artisans work their magic during your tour. The traditional Japanese aesthetics of the studio itself are fascinating, and designated by the Japanese government as an Intangible Cultural Property. Be sure to visit the showroom and check out the shop located on the premises that displays all of Gyokusendo’s fine works.
Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Joetsu Shinkansen bullet train to Tsubame-Sanjo Station (about 1 hour and 40 minutes); Gyokusendo is a 10-minute taxi ride from the station.
Tsubame Showroom & Workshop, Gyokusendo
2-2-21 Chuo-dori, Tsubame-shi, Niigata-ken
Approx. 20 minutes or more