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Sustainable Travel Experiences in JAPAN

Discover Japanese Craftsmanship

Discover Japanese Craftsmanship

Japanese aesthetic expression is best conveyed through the handiwork of its craftspeople. Traditional skills in kimono making, lacquerware, porcelain, blacksmithing and more have been handed down for generations based on the natural resources available in specific regions. Today, these inherited traditions are a base for the innovative crafts developed by Japan’s cutting-edge artisans. Across Japan, there are many opportunities to get involved with hands-on workshops and try some of these unique crafts for yourself. By traveling and experiencing the skills of artisans firsthand and directly purchasing traditional crafts, you can touch the spirit of these cherished forms of Japanese craftsmanship that have been cultivated over a long history.

Experience traditional aizome indigo dyeing in a castle town


Explore a family-owned dyehouse dating back over 400 years




Japanese indigo is an instantly recognizable color. The Nagara River Basin in Gifu Prefecture was selected as a Green Destinations Top 100 location in 2021, and this rich source of water has allowed indigo dyeing to flourish here. At a traditional dyehouse here along the river in the historic castle town of Gujo Hachiman, artisans have been expertly dyeing garments with indigo pigment for centuries. Learn from 15th-generation masters at the Watanabe Somemono Dyehouse how natural aizome indigo dye, which has natural insect-repelling and fabric-strengthening properties, is produced through a fermentation process. You’ll see first-hand how these expert dyers follow an ancient method of soaking, washing and drying pieces until only the most vivid indigo remains. Create your own indigo-dyed t-shirt to take home as a souvenir while experiencing traditional techniques that have been handed down through generations of master artisans. 


Watanabe Somemono Dyehouse

737 Hachiman-cho, Shimadani, Gujo-shi, Gifu



Try your hand at Kintsugi, mending broken pottery with precious metals


Discover how this age-old, sustainable art form collides with wabi-sabi philosophy


© KintsugiSouke


Kintsugi is a centuries-old technique for fixing broken pottery with precious metals. Kintsugi translates to “golden joinery,” mending damaged pottery by joining the pieces with natural resin (urushi) and sprinkling the joints with gold powder (maki-e) before polishing them. This revered maki-e technique is a closely kept secret amongst Kintsugi artisans and follows Japanese concepts including the aesthetic of wabi-sabi, a tradition of accepting and finding beauty in transience and imperfection. Beyond this, the art of Kintsugi is recognized as a sustainable practice, where old, discarded objects are given a new lease of life. Learn from Kintsugi master Showzi Tsukamoto during this gold joinery workshop as your broken pottery is reborn into a beautiful piece of art. Following the workshop, your host will perform a samurai-style tea ceremony service and explain the philosophy and history behind Kintsugi. You’ll leave the workshop with a sense of accomplishment and a treasured memento of your experience.


Kintsugi Souke

La Casa Minaminagasaki #401, 5-1-10 Minaminagasaki, Toshima-ku, Tokyo



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