Learn, buy, enjoy at Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts, Fureaikan! The traditional handicrafts of Kyoto
Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts, Fureaikan is located on the basement floor of Miyako Messe, one of the largest convention centers in Kyoto. Inside this museum, they showcase 74 types of handicrafts with around 500 artifacts on display. This is the only museum showcasing this amount of handicrafts in the whole of Japan.
And the specialty of this museum is that you don’t only have to be satisfied with only looking at the works. You can read about the crafts from the text panels by them, and, if you so wish to do, you can even buy them. In addition to this, you even get to see how the artisans make their crafts up close. So there are many ways in which you can enjoy this museum.
I recommend this museum to those interested in handicrafts. If you’re not that into handicrafts, note that entrance to this museum is free, and it’s an easy destination to combine with Heian Shrine and Kyoto Zoo.
Permanent exhibition *In the picture Kyo-uchiwa and Kyo-sensu
Inside the museum, the exhibitions are divided into categories, such as Kyo-sensu, Kyo-ware, Kiyomizu-ware, and Kyo-zogan. Each one of them is explained in great detail in the text panel in front of the display. They use actual fabric and parts to explain the making of these crafts, so it’s learning more about the crafts is easy. They also have video about the artisans making the crafts. It may be even easier to understand how the crafts are done by watching the videos than reading, as the process of making the crafts is shortened into a concise video.
Among the products, those with price tags on them can be bought, so if you find something you like, tell the staff which one you want to buy.
Live handicraft making *In the picture: Kyo-zogan
At the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts, Fureaikan, you get to see how chosen artisans perform their crafts (chosen every month), such as warosoku (Japanese candles), Kyo-zogan, and tsuzureori (fabric weaving).
It’s interesting because you get to know how the traditional crafts are made, and what is the process that has to be done in order to make one craft, and how much of a handwork is needed for it. There is no pen for the artisans, so you can go right next to them and see them work. You won’t have this kind of chance often, so I recommend going close to the artisan and looking carefully at him or her work. They don’t have live handicraft making every day so check the calendar before going.
Live performance held from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
*The live performance differs by day. Check their website.
*Please note that the live performance times may change.
Kyo-Yuzen hands-on experience
Every Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm you can try Kyo-yuzen. They have 35 different pictures to try, like bunnies, flowers, and the Chinese characters for Kyoto. You choose the one you like, and dye it into the cloth in the Kyo-yuzen style with the color you like. Note that the price for the experience changes based on what you want to dye the picture onto, as you can choose from a handkerchief, fan, tote bag, T-shirt, and other things. The cheapest one is the handkerchief which you get to dye for 900 yen. The dying itself is not that difficult so it can be enjoyed by children too. This would be a nice experience to remember your trip by for parents and children and groups of friends too.
*Only cash. Big groups need to pay together.
*You cannot bring your own products to dye.
*The experience takes around 45 to 60 minutes, depending on your speed. *Group reservations are accepted for days other than Sunday too. Check their website for more information.