Japan is a country full of history, traditions and also it’s particular attention to “traditional craftsmanship” which is often handed down through the generations.
These intangible assets have been recognized Internationally, and many are now registered under the Unesco World Heritage brand.
These “Intangible Cultural Properties” refer to stage arts, music, craft techniques, and other intangible cultural assets that possess high historic or artistic value for the country.
For instance the art of the carpenters that design and build Japanese Tea Houses or Temples are also in this category. So are the craftsman that fix the traditional Thatched Roof Houses of Japan.
Intangible Cultural Properties consist of human “technical artistry”, embodied by individuals or groups of individuals who represent the highest mastery of the techniques concerned.
Japanese Knives (Blacksmith Craft)
However, maybe the most famous of Japan’s intangible cultural properties, may be the Japanese Cuisine. Called “Washoku”, the Japanese Cuisine was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Property in 2013.
Since then, there has been much focus and attention paid to the Chefs that create the perfect looking dish possible. It is not just the presentation of the meal, but also the low calorie, nutritious and well balanced diet, that makes Washoku stand out from other cultural dishes. The most popular Washoku, would be Sushi, Sashimi, Tempura, and also the different local meals you find in each rural town and city. They also put a lot of focus on using seasonal ingredients and also try to use ingredients that can been found in the local areas.
While the Chefs create some of the most mouth watering meals imaginable, it is also a good idea to take in to account, they utensils that they create Japanese Cuisine.
Some of the most famous Chefs throughout the world, along with every Chef in Japan that wants to prove their ability, use Japanese made knives.
The art and history of creating Japanese knives began when the Shogun or highly decorated people began to order the Blacksmiths to make Japanese Swords. Now a days, there are no swords made for fighting wars, but the exactly same process of making swords has been passed down though generations, and now is used in making Japanese knives that are used in restaurants and also in ordinary family homes.
The craftsmanship of making Japanese knives (which will last for your whole lifetime) is also an Unesco Intangible Cultural Property, and even today many blacksmiths will not use machines, but will hand make their knives from start to finish.
Experience Japan Travel is located in Kyoto, and many of our staff have and use Japanese knives made in Kyoto, with only Kyoto material.
There are several famous knife shops in Kyoto that sell Kyoto made knives, but if you read the fine print, these shops use material made in Osaka or the Fukui area. (These knives are also highly sort after and high quality knives). But we at Experience Japan Travel, drive ourselves to introduce Kyoto made products that are 100% Kyoto ingredient made.
If you were even in the need of a Japanese Knife made by a Kyoto Blacksmith, that has a history of over 360 years, you may be interested in contacting us, and we could easily find the once in a lifetime knife for you.
Without a doubt, you will also become more and more willing to make that special meal for that someone special to you.
Contact us at Experience Japan Travel
Japanese Lacquer / Kintsugi
The art or craft of Japanese Lacquer and even the mending process of Kintsugi (Gold used as a type of glue) started around the Muromachi Period (1336 -1573) when drinking Japanese Tea (Match / Tea ceremony) become very popular.
The history of Kintsugi is in itself very interesting. Japanese tea bowls were highly treasured by the Samurai and highly ranked warriors. So much so, that when the bowls were broken they original sent them to China to be fixed. However, the method that China used at that time was simply stapling the broken parts together.
Japan decided to take things into their own hands and invented the Kintsugi process. Now a days, it is not only gold powder that is used, but also silver, platinum, grinded abalone shell, and other material can be used.
Humidity is very important in the Kintsugi and Japanese Lacquer process when drying the lacquer. 80% humidity is generally said to be the best temperature.
If you would like to experience the Kintsugi or Japanese Lacquer craftsmanship, please contact Experience Japan Travel. We are very proud to have the acquaintance with a Japanese Craftsperson who has learnt from the best teachers, and is today keeping this traditional art form alive. Together with the Craftsperson, we can offer you a truly traditional experience.
Contact us at Experience Japan Travel