Traditional Wood Carving in Nikko
Learn about the craftsmanship passed down from the master carvers who worked on Nikko Toshogu Shrine in the 1600s
Nikko City Tourism Association
Nikko-bori wood carving is a traditional handicraft of Nikko, which owes its roots to the grand Nikko Toshogu Shrine, one of the many World Heritage sites in the historical city.
During the shrine’s construction, around 400,000 skilled wood carvers gathered in Nikko from all over Japan to create the over 5000 intricate designs we still marvel at today. After the building was complete, the artisans remained in Nikko and turned their skills to carving trays, chests of drawers, and other beautiful objects.
After being inspired by the elegant work of generations of master craftspeople, why not create your own original piece of nikko-bori? There is no need to bring anything, as your instructor will provide and explain how to use the “hikkaki tou,” the specific carving knife tool only used in this craft. Carefully carve your preferred design on the back of a small mirror or name plate and bring home a little piece of Nikko’s culture.
Since the experience is held indoors, this makes an excellent option for rainy or chilly days.
How to get there
From Tokyo Station, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Utsunomiya Station (about 50 minutes), then transfer to the JR Nikko Line to Nikko Station (about 40 minutes). Mekke Nikko Kyodo Center is about 5 minutes away by bus, just in front of the Nikko Kyodo Center Mae bus stop.
591 Goko-machi, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken