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Traditional Arts

San Diego...
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Traditional Arts

Hi all,

It seems like I highjack this forum with too many questions-sorry. I just committed to going to Japan today and my flight will be this friday to NRT. I am still reading the Lonely Planet guide. I am in somewhat of a panic mode as I am so ill prepared for this trip.

There are four things I like to get from Japan. I do not have unlimited budget. However, I am willing to pay up to 1K US dollars for each/any of the follow things:

Wood block print, chop sticks, a doll, or ceramics. Suggestions for places to shop for any of these item? I prefer quality not quantity. Again, many thanks in advance.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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1. Re: Traditional Arts

As you have probably read, each of these items are coming from differing parts of the country, if you mean real traditional. Even with the best planning, this would be a lot of effort and resources spent just on searching. If you are staying in Tokyo to start, just go to a major department stores top floor.

Except for the ceramics, 1K US will take you a long way.

Tokyo, Japan
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2. Re: Traditional Arts

Here are some suggestions

Woodblock prints - The Tolman Collection has been around for a long time and has a good reputation. If you are looking for the master, like Hiroshige, you may be better off checking ebay in the USA, just be careful of fraud. Although Japanese have an appreciation for this art, they don't buy it for their homes. Foreigners seem to like wood blocks more than the Japanese.

http://www.tolmantokyo.com

Chop Sticks - if you can spend $1000 on chop sticks I would be shocked. Check Yamada Heiando which sells lacquer chop sticks and chopstick holders. You will be more taken by the lacquer bowls and plates and buy that instead I think. Heiando is the real deal, and amazingly has a shop in terminal 1 of Narita as well. The shop in Daikanyama is great.

http://www.heiando.com

Doll - Dolls are very seasonal, for Childrens day, which just ended. However, there is one district that seems to sell authentic dolls year round. Its called Asakusabashi (not to be confused with Asakusa). Besides the dolls, its an interesting area to walk around. Its on the Toei Asakusa Line.

Ceramics - one of your best bets is a high end department store. Try Isetan and Takashimaya in Shinjuku

One other place to check is Oriental Bazaar on Omotesando. Some of the stuff there is tourist junk, but some treasures can also be found.

San Diego...
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3. Re: Traditional Arts

Hi all,

Thanks for all the responses. To me, Traditional means (loosely) things that are unique to Japan and can only be found in Japan. However, in this age of globalization and ebay shopping culture, finding unique things can be a challenge. I like buy some nice things when I travel to keep as memory. I like to use these souvenirs to furnish my apt. I don't like to collect things just for the sake of collecting.

A question about Lacquer: Are they that good in terms of quality compared to those found in Vietnam? Last year, I purchased some lacquer things in VN and they do not seem to be of quality. I did not buy those at some cheap shops. I actually purchased them at the Sofitel Metropole, which I had assumed were of great quality because the prices were way higher and they were at a top hotel. I think I was wrong on that account.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Traditional Arts

Bingoya is worth a visit. It's on the outskirts of the Shinjuku neighborhood. See http://www.quasar.nu/bingoya/ On their website, hit the access link for a map of how to get there.

For ceramics, try the top floor of any department store. You'll find the major department stores on top of the major train stations. Just stop in when you're done sightseeing for the day!

For non-traditional Hakusan ceramics (made near Nagasaki), see fpr302.com/blog/302/2008/11/hakusan_shop.php

Honolulu, Hawaii
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5. Re: Traditional Arts

Japanese lacquer is tops in quality. If you're going to Kyoto check the Gallery of Arts and Crafts (not to be confused with the touristy Kyoto Handcraft Center) to get an idea of what top quality is. Then, use that as your standard instead of blindly through ebay, hotels, or through another country. Also, if you plan to spend this much, ask about the care and and storage (out of the sunlight, encased with a glass of water).

They also display collector chop sticks, dolls and a little ceramics. For more, as mentioned, continue on to Nagasaki.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Traditional Arts

If you want the absolute best quality of traditional Japanese crafts, try the Japan Traditional Craft Center in the Metropolitan Plaza Building at Ikebukuro station in Tokyo. But be warned, the prices are as high as the quality!

tokyoq.com/weekly_updates/tqoole/jtrad.html

and

http://www.kougei.or.jp/english/center.html

7. Re: Traditional Arts

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