Japan Has a Museum That Lets You Experience Glass Crafting

It's very therapeutic.

8161-1 Hotaka-Ariake, Azumino City, Nagano Prefecture
Contact: +81-263-83-5100
Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (1 April - 31 October), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (1 November - 8 January), 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (10 January - 28 February).
Closed every Tuesday

Entrance fee: Museum ¥800 yen, glass craft making ¥1300~

No country is as well-versed in the art of zen as Japan. While it's most often associated with meditation and gardening, here's another activity you might want to consider: glass blowing. At the AZUMINO ARTHILLS MUSEUM, you can see art galleries exhibiting works by Emil Galle, a world-renowned glass crafts maker, as well as create your own glasses or flower bowls by joining a fuki-glass (glass blowing) class. There's also a tombodama session, in which you learn how to make small beads by winding an elongated glass on a stainless steel rod.

In tombodama, you can make a colorful mound ball by melting the glass rod with a burner and wrapping it around the stainless rod. You can choose its color from the choices of frit, marble, line, floral design, among others. Since you need to cool down the ball, you have to wait for an hour. You can turn this into a strap or necklace.

In fuki-glass, you can make one of four types: a glass, a single-flower vase, a cork bottle, and a mug. It takes about 15 minutes, and anyone who is six years of age or older can participate. It's great to experience real glass production in a short time while receiving support from the studio staff. In order to participate, you can make a reservation by 5 p.m. the previous day, and receive the finished product after 10 a.m. the following day, or have it shipped to you for a fee instead.

Kaleidoscope or glass fusing for the kids

In addition to authentic experiences such as fuki-glass and tombodama, there are lots of activities you can try regardless of your age, such as kaleidoscope, fusing, sandblasting, and glass stamping. These ones do not require a reservation.

The glass production experience also includes sand casting (¥3,300) or the production of figurines of handprints of small children or pets. The beautiful glass art made together by parents and children is the perfect keepsake for the whole family.

Provided by Japan Walker™ and Tokyo Walker™ (6 December 2017)

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