New popular sites fostered by Kyushu’s “monozukuri” craft culture
One of the best ways to enjoy Kyushu is by strolling around, enjoying beautiful nature and historical structures. Several reconstruction projects have been carried out in recent years, in order to create new townscapes with traditional buildings. Glover Garden in Nagasaki will be open at night as well as in the daytime from mid - July until early October. The nighttime hours feature the lighting-up of the Western-style buildings as a nighttime sightseeing event. In Kumamoto, Nagasaki Jiro Book Store started its business in 1874 and still resides in the same building, which has been renovated to have a bookstore on the 1st floor and a café on the 2nd floor. Streetcars run in front of the bookstore, creating an unexpected townscape of old Japan. In Saga Prefecture, Takeo Onsen Shinkan offers hands-on pottery making classes at the facility, which also has a souvenir shop.
In addition to these sites, there are also new places where you can enjoy Kyushu’s unique craft items. Recently, several shops and cafés with gallery space have opened in Kyushu, including SOMEWARE in Yakuin (Fukuoka Prefecture), SELECT BEPPU in Beppu (Oita Prefecture), and TAGIRI HOTEL along the Nichinan Coast in Miyazaki Prefecture. Landscape Products, a design company in Kagoshima Prefecture which runs GOOD NEIGHBORS café and store, also organizes several annual outdoor events, where artists and craftspersons in various genres get together to share their creations and creativity. Kyushu’s current trend is spreading from places like these where local artists as well as artists from other prefectures get together.
Located at the highest point of Glover Garden, the Former Mitsubishi No.2 Dock House offers a beautiful view of the harbor from its balcony, from which in July every year, you can also enjoy the Nagasaki Minato Festival, a large-scale fireworks festival with 8,000 fireworks, the areas most recommended summer event.
8-1 Minamiyamate-machi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Pref.
Nagasaki Jiro Book Store
If you like trains, you will love this place. You can look down at the streetcars running in front of the building while enjoying a cup of coffee in the 2nd-floor bookstore café. The building has been renovated, but it still retains the old beams, window frames, and pillars, creating a photogenic space. Occasionally, mini-concerts with piano and violins are held at the café.
4-1-19 Shinmachi, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Pref.
Takeo Onsen Shinkan
Known for the hot spring water known for helping visitors to recover from fatigue while obtaining beautiful skin, Takeo Onsen is also filled with people who come to the “asaichi” morning market on Takeo Onsen-dori Street every Sunday. About 40 street stalls line the street, selling fresh local foodstuffs and ingredients as well as natural cosmetics.
7425 Oaza Takeo, Takeo-cho, Takeo City, Saga Pref. http://www.takeo-kk.net/sightseeing/001349.php
SELECT BEPPU 9-33 Chuo-machi, Beppu City, Oita Pref. http://www.beppuproject.com/space/platform04.html
GOOD NEIGHBORS 7-1 Sumiyoshi-cho, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Pref. http://good-neighbors.info/
Yakuin is a town where you can find stylish select shops that sell fashion-related items and goods in the alleyways. One of these unique select shops, SOMEWARE by FAB STATION, which supports local “monozukuri” craft culture, offers various goods and items for everyday living, all carefully selected for their distinctive artistic qualities.
1-12-19 Yakuin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Pref. https://www.facebook.com/someware.theshop/
TAGIRI HOTEL DINING & SPA 152 Ichiki, Kushima City, Miyazaki Pref. http://www.tagirihotel.com
[Event] GOOD NEIGHBORS JAMBOREE 2017 Kawanabe Forest School
3728-2 Motobeppu, Kawabe-cho, Minamikyushu City, Kagoshima Pref. http://goodneighborsjamboree.com/2017/
Experience the art of traditional crafts in Kyushu
There are various kinds of traditional crafts that have been passed down for generations all over Japan. In Kyushu, there are many fashion-related crafts. Hakata in Fukuoka Prefecture has "Hakata dolls," which are delicately painted, unglazed dolls. "Bijin-mono (beautiful ones)," one of the major types of Hakata dolls, are decorated with kimono and accessories with fine drawings, vividly depicting the beauty of Japanese-style dressing. In the 17th century, the Portuguese brought a glass craft technique to Nagasaki, and it has since established its position as one of Nagasaki’s famous crafts. Glass crafts are used to make accessories, such as pendants and earrings. Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture has "Oshima tsumugi," a type of silk textile that is highly valued by many kimono lovers as the ultimate status symbol in the world of kimono.
Other local crafts in Kyushu include “Tesuki-washi (hand-made washi paper)" from Miyazaki Prefecture, “Wagasa (Japanese-style umbrella)" a symbol of Nakatsu, a castle town in Oita Prefecture, "higo-mari (Japanese cotton yarn balls)" from Kumamoto Prefecture, which are commonly used as a New Year’s Day’s toy and decoration for hina-dolls, and "Arita ware” from Arita, Saga Prefecture. If you are interested in learning the essence of Japan’s "monozukuri (craft culture)", you can join hands-on craft sessions. There are many hands-on events in Kyushu where you can create your own piece of art under the supervision of professional craftspersons. Learning Japan’s world-class monozukuri techniques directly from the professionals. What a invaluable experience!
Hakata doll painting
In this workshop, which is popular among young women, you can draw a face on an unglazed doll, creating your very own Hakata doll.
Fee: 2,160 yen and up
Approximate time required: 40 - 60 minutes
Hakata dolls / Hakata-ori, Shogetsudo Hakata Ningyo Kaikan Shogetudo bldg. 1F, 5-1-22 Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Pref. http://www.shogetudo.jp/
Glass craft work shop
At "LUNA LLENA," a glass studio where mainly stained glass and lamps are created, you can choose glass parts in various shapes and sizes to make your own glass balls.
Fee: 2,000 yen for 3 glass balls (finished glass balls will be delivered at a future date *additional fee for delivery required) Approximate time required: 30 - 60 minutes
LUNA LLENA 4387 Ikitsukicho-minamimen, Hirado City, Nagasaki Pref. http://www1.odn.ne.jp/lunallena/
Oshima tsumugi handweaving
This hands-on event is held at Amami-no-sato (Village of Amami Island), a famous tourist spot where you can enjoy nature and culture of Amami. You can weave elegant Oshima tsumugi with beautiful patterns using a handloom that can be easily operated even by beginners.
Fee: 3,240 yen and up
Approximate time required: 90 minutes
Amami-no-sato 1-8 Nanei, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Pref. http://www.amaminosato.jp/tour/experience/
Arita ware painting
"Toshiemon Kiln," where an exhibition sale of about 30,000 pieces of earthenware is held every day, offers a painting session where you can paint a rare Arita-ware wind chime. It will make a great summer souvenir.
Fees: 1,620 yen and up
Approximate time required: 60 minutes
Toshiemon Kiln 1-4-28 Nakadaru, Arita-cho, Nishimatsuura District, Saga Pref. (exhibition hall in Marukei Shosha) http://www.maru-kei.com/
Delicious and stylish cafés in Kyushu
There has been a recent, unprecedented boom in coffee culture in Japan, and stopping by a café has become one of the highlights of traveling. In Kyushu, there are many unique coffee shops and cafés that take full advantage of the unique characteristics of specific areas. “Shimabara Mizuyashiki,” a café built in the old wooden house, once belonging to a wealthy merchant in Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture, offers a nice place to relax. Especially tranquil is the veranda with a view of a beautiful pond filled with spring water, ranked in the top 100 best natural water sources in Japan. “Tamagoiro no Kekiya-san,” a cake shop owned by a farmer in Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture, sells various kinds of sweets made with free-range eggs and no artificial additives. Every prefecture in Kyushu has great cafés to enjoy while on holiday, including the “Yadokari Café” in Oita Prefecture, which offers delicious dishes made with fresh vegetables from the owner’s farm, and “OttO-OttO” in Miyazaki Prefecture, famous for serving wonderful gelato using seasonal ingredients.
The “Mizutama Café” in Kumamoto Prefecture, located deep in the mountains, is attractive for its photogenic setting. The building is like a glass box and offers a great panoramic view of the Aso Mountains. “Umenoma,” affiliated with a popular restaurant chain in Fukuoka Prefecture, serves tasty dishes with carefully selected ingredients and also Japanese sweets that are delicious as well as being a colorful feast for your eyes, all served on pretty tableware. At “Coffee-kan,” in Kagoshima Prefecture, enjoy a cup of coffee made from carefully selected, on-site roasted coffee beans, and check out the crafts on sale that will also make for great souvenirs.
Enjoy their specialty dessert, “Kanzarashi,” made with fresh spring water from the premises, with your coffee. On the second floor of the building, built in 1872, is a display of 1,200 “maneki-neko” cat statues, with a variety of charming facial expressions, from all over Japan.
513 Yorozu-machi, Shimabara City, Nagasaki Pref.
Tamagoiro no Kekiya-san
Enjoy delicious sweets made with “Yuukiran” brand eggs fresh from the owner’s farm. The owner/patisserie master is particular about serving dishes on stylish tableware, mainly those from famous pottery production areas in the Kyushu Region.
2269 Hamasaki, Hamatama-machi, Karatsu City, Saga Pref.
Light-filled with the warmth of a woody interior, this café is a great spot to relax and refresh. The café is run by a design company and has original items for sale as well as selected stationery and other items that make great souvenirs.
819-2 Onojiri, Yamato-cho, Kamimashiki District, Kumamoto Pref.
Yadokari Café 185 Joharu, Oita City, Oita Pref. https://www.instagram.com/yadokaricafe
Coffee-kan 2-30-10 Nagayoshi, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Pref. http://coffee-kan.com/
Their specialty dish is “Kudamono anmitsu kakigori,” shaved ice topped with abundant fresh fruit and original ice cream, made exclusively with 100% vegetable-based ingredients, such as white bean paste, soy milk, taro potato, and yams.
Abitare Eccella 1F, 3-1-16 Watanabe-dori, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Pref.
OttO-OttO 12729-1 Saigotashiro, Misato-cho, Higashiusuki District, Miyazaki Pref. http://www.otto-otto.jp
Kawaii souvenirs you definitely want to buy for yourself, too
One of the pleasures at the end of your journey is to buy souvenirs. Let’s find nice memorable items for your loved ones. Here you can find not only yummy, standard food items, but also souvenirs with fashionable packaging, sophisticatedly designed accessories, items that enhance your femininity, and more. All these represent the charms of Kyushu!
Souvenirs of all prefectures in Kyushu
Tenmonkan Mujaki “Crème de Shirokuma”
This dessert-like liqueur grew out of a collaboration between “Tenmonkan Mujaki”, the originator of the well-known shaved ice brand “Shirokuma”, a representative sweet of Kagoshima, and “Satsuma Musou Group”, a sweet-potato shochu brewer. With an alcohol content of 10%, the combination of sweetness from condensed milk and the flavor of sweet-potato shochu may well get you addicted. It can be enjoyed on the rocks or as “Shirokuma Cocktail”, in which the liqueur is mixed with mikan, banana, or pineapple juice and topped with pieces of fruit.
Musougura Baiten 1-1-17 Nanatsu-jima, Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Pref. http://satsumamusou.co.jp
Swan Cider (reprint edition)
Produced by “Tomomasu Drink Co., LTD”, established in 1902, since the early Showa period, Swan Cider is available in a unique reprint edition since 2005. Made from high-quality granulated sugar and processed in a careful manner, using a traditional method, this “local craft cider” is very fizzy and refreshing. By joining a tour in the Saga Prefecture factory, you can also learn how cider is made. The souvenir shop in the factory sells not only Tomomasu standard products, but also limited edition, original items. Don’t miss it!
Tomomasu Drink 2575-3 Iwakura, Ogimachi, Ogi City, Saga Pref. http://www.tomomasu.co.jp
Kyushu Puredry Granola
Kyushu Puredry Granola contains barley produced in Kyushu and five kinds of dried fruits coated with Miyazaki mango juice. With much emphasis being placed on the locally harvested ingredients, enjoy the natural sweetness of the fruits. Its characteristic feature lies in the crispy texture and the mild sweetness of the dried fruits and mango juice. Not only is it delicious as it is, but also yummy to mix with yogurt, milk, soybean milk, etc. The elegantly designed packages look beautiful when they are placed side by side.
Kyushu Puredry 2-247 Kirishima, Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Pref.
*Available at tourist shops in Miyazaki Prefecture, Miyazaki Airport, and Michi-no-Eki (Roadside Station) shops. http://9puredry.com/
Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum BISCUI10
The original biscuits of the museum shop, created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, are formed into ten different patterns to make images of such things as a old European merchant ship, a church, and a letterpress printing type, all of which are related to the history of Nagasaki, where trade with European countries flourished. Baked slowly, they use Nagasaki seawater salt as a flavor accent. With an artistic package that is also attractive, they go so well with coffee and any kind of tea that they can make a nice gift for anyone.
Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum 2-1 Dejima-machi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Pref. http://www.nagasaki-museum.jp
Beppu bamboo craft “bamboo bamboo”
“Bamboo bamboo” is a place where bamboo crafts made by the few bamboo craftsmen still working in Oita Prefecture and Beppu City are available. Utilising traditional methods, daily commodities such as chopsticks, baskets, strainers, bags, kitchen utensils and interior accessories, all made of bamboo, are well designed and incorporate modern tastes. Each item is handmade with great care and will enhance the quality of your daily life.
Bamboo bamboo Hori Bldg. 1F, 1-30 Chuo-machi, Beppu City, Oita Pref. https://www.facebook.com/bamboobamboo2015/
Japanese fan production once flourished in northern Kumamoto because the area was rich in such materials as Japanese paper and bamboo. But now, only one store, “Kurikawa Shoten”, produces the “shibu-uchiwa” fan, a precious craft item made of Japanese paper on a bamboo frame and painted with persimmon tannin. Enjoy the nice breeze produced by these high-quality materials! Because of its durability, it can be a memento or a lucky charm, as well as souvenir. If you have a chance to take a walk during your travel in a yukata or kimono, it will make for a great accessory.
Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Crafts Center 3-35 Chibajo-machi, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Pref. http://kumamoto-kougeikan.jp/
Lucky matchmaking charms in Kamado-jinja Shrine
Homan-gu Kamado-jinja Shrine historically enshrines the God of matchmaking
and of protection from unlucky direction. Now it attracts mainly young people because the lucky charms and talismans of this shrine are said to have great benefits. Among them, natural stone charms and “Koi-mamori Musubi-no-ito”, bracelet-like charms made with a red thread, are especially popular among young women and couples. The design of the shop is lovely with a light pink cherry blossom coloured interior. Just looking around inside is enjoyable.
Homan-gu Kamado-jinja Shrine 883 Uchiyama, Dazaifu City, Furuoka Pref. http://kamadojinja.or.jp/