Come the weekend, head to Kyoto for a taste of the traditional arts and crafts scene at reasonably-priced market stalls.
Kyoto’s regular tezukuri-ichi markets draw crowds of Kansai residents and visitors to browse the wide variety of locally-made handicrafts on sale. Tezukuri-ichi is literally translated as ‘handmade city’, and the hundreds of individual stalls give the impression of, well, if not a city, then at least a village. Kyoto, a city with Japanese tradition at its heart, is home to thousands of skilled craftsmen, and has been for centuries. Many successfully make it through the tezukuri-ichi application process to be able to sell their creations, which range from wooden and pottery tableware to jewellery and accessories to greeting cards and leather goods. These, plus a plethora of enticing edibles, including baked goods, confectionery and even fruit and vegetables, create a delightful fusion of traditional craft fair and modern-day farmer’s market. But get there early, as some of these cake stalls are cleaned out in the first hour of business!
If you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend a Sunday, a wander round a tezukuri-ichi will provide some stress-busting retail therapy. It may be hard to avoid spending money when you see the range and quality of the products – the kind of things you could buy in a department store or museum gift shop, but without the hefty price tag. What’s more, some of the markets are set in beautiful surroundings such as temple grounds; the tezukuri-ichi at Kamigamo Shrine snakes around the historic buildings and through the lush greenery of the shrine’s gardens, making visiting an even more pleasant experience.
Kentaro Kudo, who organises the Heian, Kamigamo and Kitayama markets, tells Life in Kansai: “We would like everyone to enjoy these markets. Come and talk with the people who made the crafts, sweets and products with care and attention. Even though we can’t speak English, the products speak for themselves. We would like high-quality Japanese handmade products to spread across the world.”
Tezukuri-ichi in Kyoto: when and where
Kamigamo tezukuri-ichi market u Kamigamo Shrine, 339 Kamigamomotoyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto. u 4th Sunday of every month, 9am–4pm. u Next on: Aug 23rd; Sept 27th.
Kitayama Craft Garden u Garden of Fine Arts, Shimogamo Hangi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. u 1st Sunday of every month, 10am–5pm. u Next on: Sept 6th.
Heian raku-ichi market u Okazaki Park, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. u 2nd Saturday of every month, 10am–4pm. u Next on: September 12th (venue undecided at time of going to press due to redevelopment works).
Many other tezukuri-ichi are held in Kyoto.
By Life in Kansai