Making Washi in Nihonbashi - a hands on craft experience in the heart of Tokyo
Japan is home to a number of beautiful crafts, and they are a big part of what makes this country such a fascinating spot to visit. I wrote a piece recently about a place where you can experience the art of origami in Tokyo called Origami Kaikan - I'd highly recommend you visit there if you have time on your trip and you're a crafter at heart. If you're looking to embrace more of Japan's papercrafts, another great spot in the city to check out goes by the name of Ozu Washi.
One of the most interesting things about Ozu Washi is how long they've been around for. They started out as a paper wholesale store by the name of Ozuya back in the mid 1600's, in the very same spot as their store lies today. Obviously, the building has had some refurbishments since then!
At the premises, they stock all manner of paper goods. There are walls of different handmade washi papers with hundreds of different designs, shodo paper for calligraphy, letter paper, envelopes, cards and more. Aside from the shopping, one of the best parts of a visit to Ozu Washi has to be the opportunity to take part in the hands on activities. Ozu offers classes in Shodo (Japanese calligraphy), painting and paper art - but it wouldn't be a trip to a washi store without learning how to make the infamous item itself! And the best part of all? The experience of making your own washi will only cost you 500 yen, which is great value for a hands-on class like this. You get to learn all about the process from start to finish and get to keep the piece you make, which is about A4 sized - it makes for a very neat souvenir from your time in Japan.
The make your own washi class is about an hour in duration, and is conducted in Japanese - but it is easy enough to understand what's going on by watching (that's the benefit of visual learning!). They have a contact form on their website here where you can make a reservation for a class - or you can just turn up and if they can accommodate you they will. Priority obviously goes to those who have booked in advance though, so it might be worth taking a minute or two to fill in the contact request form to secure your spot.
If you plan to pay a visit to Ozu Washi, you can find them at the Ozu Honkan Building, 3-6-2 Nihombashihoncho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. The closest station is the Shin-Nihombashi Station on the JR Sobu Line, and from there it's just a few minutes walk. If you're using the Tokyo Metro you can get off at Mitsukoshimae Station (on either the Ginza or Hanzomon lines - it's serviced by both) and it's about 8 minutes walk from there.
Happy Crafting, and Enjoy Japan!
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