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Entries in classes (13)


japanese cooking class at uzuki

last month i had the pleasure of taking a cooking class at uzuki  emi hiyayama teaches traditional japanese cooking in her home in kyoto, and i highly recommend that anyone who is interested in japanese cooking take her class if you have the chance.

in our class, we made some traditional fall menu items, learning about the ingredients and processes as we went along. not only does emi speak perfect english, but she also is very good at explaining the step by step process for each dish while cooking. our menu was steamed lotus root renkon mushi れんこんむし (with tosted ginko nuts, blanched sawara fish, parboiled lily root or yurine ゆりね, ginger and wasabi and amber sauce); spinach with sesami dressing (one of my personal favorites), grilled yellowtail tuna (with simple but delicious marinade of soy and mirin), tempura battered shitake mushrooms stuffed with prawns, and wonderful rice cooked in a clay pot with black rice.  i want to go back for another class next season, or maybe a sweets-making class.



wasabi root, and sharkskin grater

yellowtail tuna marinating, with shitake mushrooms

blanched sawara さわら fish in the background

sawara and the other ingredients that went into the steamed dish

spinach with homemade sesame sauce

rice with black rice, which gives the rice the red color and a wonderful flavor.




more resources for hands on workshops

kyoto prefecture vistors guide has a website that lists lots of craft activities that you can try in the kyoto area, with addresses, hours, and contact information. the best source i've found.

the association for promotion for traditional craft industries has a website with links to a wide variety of traditional crafts throughout japan at

the kyoto visitor guide is a monthly magazine with sightseeing information, including current dates for markets and other seasonal events.

the kippo website also has an extensive list of links to places throughout the kansai region where you can experience traditional crafts and cultural activites.


museum of arts and crafts itami 伊丹市立工芸センター

the itami museum of arts and crafts combines a museum, teaching facility, gallery spaces, and even a little shop. all in a compound of buildings that include traditional japanese shophouses-some of which are open just to walk through and see, and some are used as the shop space, where teachers and students at the craft school have work for sale.

i dont know very much about the city of itami itself, (it's not included in my japan lonely planet) but wikipedia tells us that it was the only city in japan built within a castle (which was since torn down). from my architectural preservation friends, i know that itami also is an example of townscape preservation, which means that historic areas were preserved instead of just isolated buildings. and from my firsthand experience, there are good maps/signage including clear pedestrian access through the city.

the craft center offers a stunning array of craft classes: jewelry-making, spinning and dyeing, feltmaking, etc. mac itami is an excellent place to find out about all sorts of crafts and crafty things happening throughout the region, with flyers and information about current events and exhibits, and a helpful (japanese only) staff knowlegeable about a variety of crafts. this is where i found out about my favorite yarn store in kyoto, kin no hitsuji. HOWEVER, if you don't speak japanese or feel comfortable taking a class in japanese, i would not suggest you try to take a class here. i would recommend visiting the museum and the shop with handmade crafts, and picking up some flyers for current exhibits in the kansai area.



yuzen 友禅染 ゆうぜん

yuzen dying is a traditional method of dyeing fine silk kimono fabric. with a history of several centuries, yuzen is a complex process that includes hand painting and paste resist dyeing, and can also include stencils and shibori.

the comprehensive traditional crafts of japan website has a section on kyoto yuzen dyeing that shows the process.

i haven't tried it personally, but my friend and her mom enjoyed the workshop at marumasu nishimuraya yuzen kobo (まるますにしむらやゆぜんこうぼう).


shibori 絞り

this is a classic shibori pattern of a vintage jacket worn over kimono.

shibori is a japanese traditional kind of dyeing where parts of the fabric are kept away from the dye by being bound in an intricate combination of knots.

one of the next workshops i'd love to try is the one offered by the kyoto shibori craft center. my friend who tried this workshop said it was fantastic!