All About Japan

5 Cool Crafts from Tokyo

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While Tokyo is known for its city lights, it's also long been a center of traditional craftsmanship. The crafts of Tokyo go back for generations, and the attention to detail that the city's dedicated craftspeople put into their work is incomparable. Check out our top five coolest crafts from Tokyo, each with its own rich, unique history!

5. Edo Kibashi Chopsticks

5. Edo Kibashi Chopsticks

Edo kibashi chopsticks have been created by the hands of Tokyo craftspeople since the beginning of the Taisho Period (1912-1926) roughly 100 years ago. Edo Kibashi use carefully selected high-grade wood (ebony, red sandalwood, ironwood, Japanese box-trees, maple, etc.), which craftspeople plane by hand.

With a focus on ergonomics, they're designed for easy grip and pragmatic functionality. In the early stages of their development, a square design called dobari, or stretched trunk, was the standard form. However, the craftspeople recognized that every person has a different sense of grip, with varying preferences for the length, width and weight of their chopsticks, and Edo Kibashi craftspeople began to manufacture chopsticks in various shapes, including squares, pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, octagons and simple circles. With so many different features and characteristics to choose from, it’s easier for the purchaser to select chopsticks that fit his or her preference. Expressed through design, this kind of concern for the user’s needs is what makes Edo kibashi so special.

Takeda Katsuhiko, owner of the Daikokuya Edo kibashi store, originated the name Edo kibashi in 1999. Daikokuya has inherited the history and tradition of this art, and continues to ambitiously develop designs that pursue the utmost in utility.