Tsugaru-han Neputa Village

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Traditional Craft Making Class

 

Make / Learn / Communicate

Kingyo (Goldfish) Neputa Painting

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 This is modeled after the Tsugaru Nishiki,a goldfish species unique to Tsugaru. The goldfish has been revered as a harbinger of good luck from ancient times. From about 1760,commoners popularized the image of the goldfish by producing the neputa. Nowadays the children of Aomori parade these goldfish lanterns through the streets at the Neputa Matsuri.

1. You will draw a face on an already papered Kingyo (goldfish) Neputa with sumi (India ink).
2. Using wax that has been melted at about 130 degrees, you will draw its face, tail fin and scales.
3. Using special colored dye, you will paint the body of the Neputa to complete it.

Price (tax incl.) 1,150 Yen
Approx. time 90 minutes
Size (cm) 12 X 20
Notes Use high temperature wax

Tsugaru Kite Painting

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 The Tsugaru Dako Kites were first produced as children’s toys by lower-class samurai forced to take on side jobs by poverty. Most of the kites are illustrated with pictures of heroic feudal warlords. Instead of the bamboo frames typically used for Japanese kites, the frames of the Tsugaru Dako are made of hiba, a Japanese cypress indigenous to Aomori. The Tsugaru Dako is considered one of the three finest kites of Japan, together with the Rendako(a train of kites) of Nagasaki and the O-Dako (giant kite) of Shirone.

1. Place the washi paper on top of the design and you will sketch directly using sumi (India ink).
2. Using a special “Botanbake” brush you will draw the hair.
3. Using special colored dye, you will paint the kite to complete it.

Painting
Price (tax incl.) 1,000 Yen
Approx. time 90 minutes
Size (cm) 33 X 48
Notes There is a class available where you can make the kite from the beginning by adding paper to the frame.

 

Make from frame
Materials used “Hiba”(Japanese Cypress) “Chikuzai”(Bamboo)
Price (tax incl.) 1,850 Yen 1,450 Yen
Approx. time 3.5 hours 3.5 hours
Size (cm) 33 X 48
Notes “Hiba” :Using Japanese Cypress for the frame
“Chikuzai” :Using Bamboo for the frame
The original Tsugaru Dako Kites will be the one using “Hiba”.

 

Mini Fan Shaped Neputa Wall Stand

 The compact “mini fan shaped Neputa wall stand” is a realistic miniature of the Neputa floats that appear in the Neputa Festival. Through the instruction of an expert craftsman you will make a picture of a samurai in combat which will make you feel like you are actually experiencing a real Neputa Float.

1. You will draw an outline using sumi (India ink) on a fan shaped washi paper that has a picture already sketched on it.
2. Using a special “Botanbake” brush you will draw the hair.
3. Using melted wax, you will draw wax outlines.
4. Using special colored dye, you will add color to the painting.
5. After adding string and a wooden tag so that it could be leaned against a wall, you are finished.

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Price (tax incl.) 1,650 Yen
Approx. time 90 minutes
Size (cm) 30 X 30
Notes Use high temperature wax

 

Apple “Dorei” (Ceramic Bell) Painting

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“Dorei” is a bell made from fired clay.
The start of the making of this bell is said to have been when a Tsugaru feudal lord invited a ceramist from Chikuzen, Kyushu to help with industrial development. At this time, when the feudal kiln was first built, there were few toys available for the people of Tsugaru. The ceramist was given a task to design a toy and using the less busy winter months developed this ceramic bell and ceramic dolls.
You will be able to paint an apple shaped unglazed ceramic bell. You can paint any design or write any words to your liking. The bell is complete when you tie a string on it. It is a perfect souvenir to take home to your family and friends.

1. We will be using an unglazed ceramic bell.
2. Using different colored paints, you can use a brush to paint the colors to your liking.
3. After painting a design or words to your liking, we will put a string through a hole in the bell and tie it and you are finished!

Price (tax incl.) 1,150 Yen
Approx. time 60 minutes
Size (cm) 6.5 X 8

 

Tsugaru Pottery Painting

The beginning of ceramic art in the Tsugaru area was said to have started during the Edo Period, when the 4th lord of the Tsugaru Clan invited a ceramic teacher from Edo and instructed him to make the clan’s household supplies. During the last years of the Taisho Era, most of the kilns were discontinued. The present Tsugaru Pottery is from a revival that occurred during the Showa Era.
You will be able to paint an unglazed tea cup. “Gosu” (a special blue pigment) which has been used since olden times in painting pottery will be used.

1. We will be using an unglazed tea cup to paint.
2. We will be using “Gosu” (special blue pigment) which has been used since olden times in painting pottery.
Afterwards, a craftsman will complete the process (glazing -> final firing), which will take about one month.

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Price (tax incl.) 1,100 Yen
Approx. time 60 minutes
Size (cm) 7 X 8.5
Notes Because it will take approximately 1 month to complete the process, we will have to send the finished product. (A separate delivery fee is required)

 

Tsugaru Clay Pottery

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Tsugaru pottery dates back to a tradition from about 1700, when the ceramic furniture and goods of the Tsugaru Clan were fired in traditional kilns. Most of kilns had closed down by about 1920, but the tradition was revived as Tsugaru-yaki in about 1950.The pottery is unique for the comma-shaped patterns produced with its glaze, a wood ash made from burnt apple trees.

1. Using a ping pong ball size and shape of clay, you will repeatedly press down on it to make a round shaped disc.
2. After making the clay into a string shape, you will coil it around and around, layering it into your desired shape.
Afterwards, a craftsman will complete the process (firing -> glazing -> final firing), which will take approximately 2 months.

Price (tax incl.) 1,250 Yen
Approx. time 120 minutes
Size (cm) 1 item is made from 500g 1 piece of clay
Notes Because of the drying,firing process, it will take approximately 2 months to complete the process, so we will have to send the finished product. (A separate delivery fee is required)

 

Shitakawarayaki Pigeon Whistle

It is said that the start of this “Ceramic doll making” was begun as the winter work of the ceramists employed by the Tsugaru Clan. The dazzling color combination of white, purple, red, green and yellow is something that is not seen anywhere else in Japan. The sound of the whistle is a simple “Ho- Ho-“ which may remind you of the nostalgia of your hometown.
You will be able to paint an unglazed pigeon whistle with a brush in any color to your liking.

1. We will use an unglazed, white painted pigeon whistle.
2. Using different colored paints, you can use a brush to paint the colors to your liking.
3. After the paint dries, a finishing solution will be painted on to complete it.

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Price (tax incl.) 1,350 Yen
Approx. time 60 minutes
Size (cm) 13 X 9
Notes Limited amount of 1000 whistles per year (Starting in April of that year)

 

Hirosaki Kokeshi Doll Painting

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The first kokeshi dolls were made in the 1850s as a unique children’s toy in the Tohoku District. Much later, in the 1900s, the kokeshi become a collector’s item for grown-ups. Nowadays there are eleven categories of kokeshi dolls produced. Hirosaki Kokeshi, a doll in the Tsugaru Kokeshi category, is known for the abbreviated simplicity of its design.

1. You will use an already cut, unvarnished doll to paint.
2. The face will be drawn using sumi (India ink).
3. Dye will be used to color a design on the body.
4. After writing your name in sumi (India ink) on the back, the doll is complete.

Price (tax incl.) 1,100 Yen
Approx. time 60 minutes
Size (cm) 18 cm tall

 

Wooden Dharma Prayer Doll

Dharma is a traditional toy/lucky charm that represents the figure of the founder of Zen Buddhism sitting in a prayer position. You can make your own original Dharma doll by writing your own words and wishes on an unvarnished doll. After painting the whole body red, your doll is complete. You can take home an original, one of a kind wooden Dharma prayer doll.

1. You will use an already cut, unvarnished wooden doll.
2. You will draw the face using sumi (India ink).
3. You can write words or wishes on the head using sumi (India ink).
4. You will write your name on the bottom on the doll.
5. Leaving the face untouched, the rest of the doll would be painted red, using dye, to complete it.

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Price (tax incl.) 1,150 Yen
Approx. time 60 minutes
Size (cm) 5.9 X 9.0

 

Tsuri Spinning Top Painting

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“Koma” is a traditional toy in Japan that spins on its axis on a table or surface.“Tsuri” spinning top is one that is spun in the air with string.
The “Tsuri” top you will be able to paint is an all Tsugaru made top. While the top is spinning you will paint it and then after this part is finished you will be able to draw or write any design you like on the bottom part to finish your top.

1. You will practice spinning an already cut, unvarnished spinning top.
2. You will add color to a spinning top as it spins.
3. You will paint a picture or words to your liking on the bottom and it is complete

Price (tax incl.) 950 Yen
Approx. time 60 to 90 minutes
Size (cm) 6 X 6

 

Tsugaru Lacquerware (Chopsticks,Hand mirror,Spoon,Sake Cup)

The picture is of chopsticks.
“Tsugaru Lacquerware” is a traditional lacquerware made by adding layer upon layer of different colored lacquer and then polishing it to form different cloud like patterns.
As tableware, not only are they good for presents but also they can be used in your daily life as well.. You will be able to choose from chopsticks, a hand mirror, spoon and a sake cup that have already contain many layers of lacquer. You will be able to polish these items to make a design to your liking.

1. A 12 layered lacquered piece will be used (you can choose between red or black)
2. Using sandpaper (from a rough pattern -> to a smooth pattern), you will polish using water.
3. As the design becomes even, it is complete.

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Type Chopsticks
(red/black)
Hand mirror
(red)
Spoon
(red/black)
Sake Cup
(red/black)
Price
(tax incl.)
2,000 Yen 1,800 Yen 2,000 Yen 3,500 Yen
Approx. time 75 to 90 minutes
Size (cm) about 20 cm about 7cm in diameter about 20 cm in length 5.5 cm X 5 cm
Notes A limit of a total of around 60 people.
In order to finish the product, it will be sent to you around 3 weeks after you make it. (A separate delivery fee is required)
No outside classes

 

Tsugaru Natural Indigo Dyeing (Aizome)

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“Aizome” is a dyeing process that uses indigo as a dye. This color, not only has the amazing characteristic of being difficult to discolor, it also has a deodorization effect, anti-bacterial effect and an insect repellant effect.
By making twists in the handkerchief and then dipping it into the dye, you will be able to create a unique design. Since it is impossible to make two of the same designs, you will be able to make a one of a kind handkerchief which would be perfect as a souvenir.

1. Place the handkerchief in water and gently squeeze the water out
2. Make about 10 twists until it is about the size of your palm.
3. Put it in a basket with others in your group.
4. Take turns putting the basket into the vat of dye.
5. Take it out of the basket, let it air dry for about 2 minutes and then wash with water.
6. After it is spun dried, and completely dry, it is finished.

Price (tax incl.) 1,200 Yen
Approx. time 90 minutes
Size (cm) 40 X 40
Notes Reservations required Under 20 participants.
No outside classes.
Every Thursday, except 12/31 and 1/1.
The class will take place at the Dye Works on the corner across the street from the Tsugaru-han Neputa Village.

Important Points:
The seating capacity of our cultural experience production room is about 60 to 100 people.
For numbers over that, please contact us for more information.
Tsugaru Lacquer making will take place only at Tsugaru-han Neputa Village.
Tsugaru Natural Indigo Dyeing Aizome will take place at the Dye Works, on the corner, across the street from the Tsugaru-han Neputa Village.
We can go to your lodgings etc. for classes. But only for one theme for over 30 people. Unfortunately, indigo dyeing, Tsugaru lacquerware are not offered.

The Shitakawarayaki Pigeon Whistle and Apple Ceramic Bell have a 1000 piece yearly limit.
There is no international shipping available.
All classes are conducted in Japanese. Although there might be some information in English, it may not be enough to understand everything. It is recommended that there is someone in the group who has some basic Japanese conversational ability.