This autumn, step out of Tokyo’s crowded malls and into the workshops of local artisans. Learn, experience and appreciate the craftsmanship it takes to create some of the city’s most beautiful and quirkiest products. Keep a pulse on all of Tokyo’s events this September at our full events page and check out our other event highlights at our post What’s Happening in Tokyo This September? Please check all event websites to double-check for any potential cancelations or postponements.
Mon – Sun, 10am – 7pm (except holidays)
Hidden in a quiet, offbeat street in Asakusa, Wanariya is a cozy Japanese indigo dye studio that sells hand-dyed and hand-woven apparel and goods. Join its English-friendly workshops to create your own crafts in the famous aizome (indigo dye). Hand-dye anything from t-shirts and caps, to handkerchiefs and tote bags, just be sure to wear their provided protection, or you might leave looking like a smurf. If blue isn’t your color, they also have weaving workshops available.
Kurosawa Building 1F, 1-8-10 Senzoku, Taito-ku
Bonsai Care and Maintenance Workshop
Check website for dates
Whether you’re an old-time bonsai lover and or a total failure of a plant-parent with a depressed tree at home, this workshop offers in-depth care and maintenance lessons for all bonsai owners. Learn top tips and how to correctly prune, re-pot and water to have your miniature tree looking healthier than ever.
2-25-11 Kontacto East Studio, Nishiazabu, Minato-ku
Shinohara Maruyoshi Furin
Tue – Sun, 10:30 – 6pm
Charismatic master craftsman Shinohara-san has been creating fuurin (traditional Japanese wind chimes) for over 45 years in his shop that has been open since the Edo period. Unlike regular wind chimes that you might come across at your local home center, the glass blown ones created by Shinohara-san are designed with serrated edges to create a relaxing one-of-a-kind ring. Under Shinohara-san’s guidance, use glassblowing techniques to make your own fuurin and then decorate it by hand. English and group friendly.
4-25-10 Taito, Taito-ku
Middle Eastern/Moroccan Cuisine Workshop
Check website for dates
Couscous — the food so nice they named it twice. Blending African, European and Mediterranean cuisine, Moroccan food is considered some of the most diverse in the world. Through this workshop hosted by Mizuki Koshide — a chef specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine — learn how to make the staple tagine stew and other side dishes with ingredients and tools readily available in Japan so you can always have a bit of Moroccan spice in your daily cooking.
Kontacto East Studio Nishiazabu
2-5-11 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku
Tue – Sun, 10:30am – 6pm
Does pandemic life have you missing all the delicious festival food? Well, at Guraku Asakusa you can learn how to bake one of Japan’s most popular street foods, taiyaki, the fish-shaped, waffle-like snack. Choose from a variety of fillings like the traditional sweet red bean paste and vanilla custard, or you can spice things up a little with cheese and kimchi or spicy curry. You can make up to six pieces of taiyaki to eat while there (we’re not judging) or you can take them home and share with friends.
2-3-2 Nishiasakusa, Taito-ku
Tue – Sun, 1pm – 8pm
Five minutes on foot from Inokashira park, HIRO Workshop is for those who want to try their hand at making custom jewelry and leather goods but aren’t sure where to start. Mr Hiro will guide you through the process of hand-crafting bracelets, rings and leather totes as well as offering guidance on any custom pieces you may already have in mind. If you’re pressed for time he also has a range of customizable ready-made products for purchase in store.
#116 Musashino Country Heights, 2-18-15 Kichijoji Motomachi, Musashino-shi
Art Atelier du Travail
Wed – Mon 10am – 6pm
If your best D.I.Y. masterpiece was some form of pipe-cleaner and papier-mâché horror from elementary school, then it’s time to update your craft skills and let Art Atelier du Travail help you make something genuinely impressive. Craft custom sandals, bags and shoes that are so genuinely beautiful they look like you bought them from a chic Tokyo store — one that actually knows what it’s doing — at this charming leather studio in Nakameguro.
3-4-6 Nakameguro, Meguro-ku
Ganso Shokuhin Kappabashi
Dates and times vary
Ever wondered how they make the realistic looking plastic food in restaurant windows? Or do your cooking efforts rarely result in something edible but you still want a chance to regain some tenuous form of culinary credit? Get a glimpse into the weird world that is Japan’s replica food production industry at this workshop in Kappabashi. This autumn there’ll be workshops on how to craft your own fake tempura and lettuce or a half-and-half margherita and bulgogi pizza replica.
3-7-6 Kappabashi, Nishiasakusa, Taito-ku
Elsewhere on Metropolis:
What’s Happening in Tokyo this September?
The rundown of the best events in Tokyo this September
Based in Japan: Ria Scott
“Do you want fear or freedom?”
Why the World Needs Literature
Conversations with award-winning author Yu Miri and translator Morgan Giles