Every first and third Sunday of the month when it’s not raining, a mere three short blocks away from The Imperial lies a vast and diverse array of antique, art and curio dealers, spread out through the leafy, open air courtyard of the Tokyo International Forum from mid morning to late afternoon. Anyone with any interest in Japanese artifacts, fine art or folk art will find this colorful panorama of exotic temptations a totally fascinating experience. Stall merchandise ranges from thousands of one-of-a-kind Japanese kimono and obi fabrics, furniture, fine ceramic dinnerware, pottery and traditional dolls to whimsical, contemporary toys, exquisite lacquerwares, brushwork scrolls and rare woodblock prints - among hundreds of other uniquely Japanese objects. This antique market is one of the few places brisk bargaining is expected and accepted. A stroll through the grounds offers an eye opening look at many distinctly Japanese works of art and beauty.
If you are interested in bonsai and want to learn more, there are places to visit where you can take in hundreds of stunning potted plants as well as try your hand at fashioning your own. One popular place to indulge your curiosity is the Shinkawa Bonsai Museum in Edogawa Ward. This intriguing style of potted landscaping and pruning is explained in introductory lectures followed by experimenting with your own creativity.
Visiting Tokyo offers overseas travelers a wide choice of hands-on experiences and intriguing possibilities to
encounter arts and crafts unique to Japan. Consider if you will a class in repairing chipped porcelain with gold and
lacquer, using a technique favored by Japanese artisans for decades. Called Kintsugi, the process is taught in a one
day session, with English available.
Japan has its own cut glass: Edokiriko, Edo being the old name for the city of Tokyo, and kiriko meaning the technique
of cutting. Edokiriko began in 1834 with the production in Edo of a manufacturing method in which clear colors and
delicate patterns are cut into glass. Japanese artisans were taught by a British specialist brought in to introduce cut
glass technology to Japan.
As the merchant culture in Edo during the Tokugawa Era spent their efforts cultivating gorgeous expressions of
individual affluence in all areas of artistic endeavors, craftsmen in Edo began to challenge development of various
advanced dyeing techniques.