Edo Kiriko Glass-Making Experience: Ryogoku

Hello, this is the staff of The Gate Hotel Ryogoku.

If you are in the vicinity of The Gate Hotel Ryogoku and are looking for an activity unique to the area that still retains the Edo atmosphere, or if you are looking for a souvenir to remember your visit, check out an Edo Kiriko glass-making experience.

At the Sumida Edo Kiriko Glass Museum, a 7-minute walk from the north exit of Kinshicho Station next to Ryogoku Station, you can experience cutting Edo Kiriko glass.

Here are the actual main steps of Edo Kiriko production.
  1. Inking (dividing): rough drawing of the Kiriko pattern
  2. Rough cutting: Shaving the basic lines
  3. Samban-gake: Sharpening more detailed patterns
  4. Ishi-kake: Smoothing the shaved area before polishing
  5. Polishing: Polishing to bring out the luster and gloss

Although the hands-on experience includes only parts 1 and 2, you can still fully experience the excitement of making it yourself.

In this blog, we will share the experience of our staff an actual experience with photos.

1.First, a model of the glass cutting process is shown. Additionally, Sumida Master Kawai gave us a lecture himself.

2. The process itself is quite simple. The glass is shaved by pressing it against a rotating blade. Holding the glass firmly with both hands and looking from the inside of the glass in the direction to be shaved, the glass is shaved by drawing a line in front of you.

Edokirikokan glass curving lesson
Edokirikokan glass curving lesson

3.At first, you will borrow a glass for practice and give shaving a try. It is quite difficult to draw a straight line, as the cut is made differently depending on how much force is applied. You can sharpen not only the sides but also the bottom of the glass.

4.After some practice, it is time for the real thing. Choose a glass of your favorite shape in red or blue. Both colors are beautiful and I was torn between the two, but this time I chose red. Blue is more difficult because it is hard to see the inner surface.

Edokirikokan glass curving lesson
Edokirikokan glass curving lesson 4

5. You look at images of samples that have been made by previous visitors and decide what pattern you want to use.

6.Once the pattern is decided, you draw a rough sketch of the pattern with a white pen. The pen can be erased later with a cotton ball moistened with a light-removing solution. Once the rough sketch is completed, it is time to start the actual work.

Edokirikokan glass curving lesson 5
Edokirikokan glass curving lesson 6

7. You will start to carve along your rough draft drawing. This process takes patience, but it is important not to lose concentration in order to create a beautiful pattern.

8. When you are done, wipe off your rough draft, and you are finished! The pattern on the other side shows through, and the pattern on the bottom emerges from various angles, and the beauty changes depending on the direction of the light.
The finished work can be taken home as is.

Edokirikokan glass curving lesson 7
Edokirikokan glass curving lesson 8
Edokirikokan glass curving lesson 9

It is more difficult than it looks to make the ideal cut, and you can experience and appreciate how delicate and wonderful the craftsman’s skills are. It is a great feeling to see your finished product. Try creating your own original Edo Kiriko glass next time you are in the area.

Edokirikokan glass curving lesson final
A commemorative photo with the finished product!

Outline of the experience

Date and time: Tuesdays through Saturdays (except holidays)
Time: ①10:30-12:00 ②13:00-14:30 ③15:00-16:30
Conditions for participation: Up to 3 people per workshop, 4th-grade elementary school students and above.
Experience Contents:
Adults (High school students and older): 60 min/1,100 (tax included) Glass Cutting Experience

Elementary school students: (4th-grade – junior high school students) 60 minutes / \ 1,100 (tax included) Paperweight Cutting Experience

Reservations can be made through the website for adults (high school students and older) and by phone for 4th-grade to junior high school students.

  • 4th grade to junior high school students are not able to experience paperweight cutting on Saturdays.
  • Elementary school students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information, please visit the official website.

If you are planning to stay at The Gate Hotel, we can assist you with reservations.



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