Traditional Brass Bell Crafting with Yoshinori
  • Takaoka, Toyama, Japan
  • 15 hours over 3 days

Traditional Brass Bell Crafting with Yoshinori

Learn the 400-year-old craft of making Buddhist rin bells or the modern art of suzugami from one of ten remaining craftsmen in all of Japan. Explore the peaceful coastal town of Takaoka, Japan, with its rich craft heritage, stunning temples, and other-worldly seafood.
  • Snacks, Coffee, & Tea

Pricing

One Guest
USD $1545
Additional guest(s) (max 2)
USD $800

Accommodation

One Guest
USD $630
Additional guest(s)
USD $475

Meet the Artist

Yoshinori is a 4th generation master, and one of ten remaining craftsmen in entire Japan capable of making Buddhist Rin bells. As a craftsman, he is inspired by sadō (tea ceremony) and its minimalism. The tools and movements used in tea ceremony are based around what is necessary but maintains beauty and elegance in its design. He tries to apply the same principle to his own work.

Although bell-making is a practice steeped in tradition, he is constantly trying to modernize the craft by appropriating the skills used in bell-making to other mediums. You can see it in his modern suzugami plates and bowls where sheets of tin are hammered to become so malleable that they can be constantly reshaped. His pieces have been sought out by Nobu in Tokyo, Japan, and El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, among others. Not to miss, you'll also develop a keen sense of hearing making those bells!

VAWAA Includes:

  • Making Rin Buddhist bell and/or suzugami plates.
  • Hammering metal (brass, tin).
  • Smoothing and shaping the bell using various tools (grinder, hammer, etc.)
  • Learning how to create the three sounds of the Orin: "Kan," "Otsu," and "Mon".
  • Fine-tuning the sound of the bell (with assistance by Yoshinori and his practiced ear).
  • Visiting a metal manufacturer to do workshops.
  • Visiting a temple to meet a monk and use the bell.
  • Visiting another traditional craft studio (lacquerware).
  • Relaxing at a meditation class at a nearby temple.
  • Local sushi, seafood, sake and craft beer.
  • Your own handcrafted rin bell and/or suzugami plates.

Stay at Yoshinori's

Stay in an old modernized Japanese house with your private, tatami-lined room. Your host is a close friend of Yoshinori, who is knowledgeable about the traditional crafts, food culture, and history of Takaoka who will be a great resource for curious guests! House is located close to the studio and center of Takaoka. Includes: 4 rooms (1 bed, 3 futons), private bathroom for guest use, kitchen.

Explore Takaoka, Toyama

Takaoka is a city on the coast of Japan's Honshu Island. Since the birth of Takaoka copperware 400 years ago, the city has provided Japan with 95% of all bells and statues used in Buddhist temples, especially those cast in bronze. The skills in casting and dyeing possessed by the craftsmen were so highly-valued that even during wartime, when other industries’ use of metal was restricted, Takaoka craftsmen were unaffected. The Great Buddha of Takaoka, one of three great Buddhas in Japan, exemplifies the skills from this city and continues to make it famous— a must stop.

Additional Details

Guests do not need to practice Buddhism to learn the process of rin bell-making. 

Children and elderly people are welcome if they have enough stamina to hammer for seven hours per day. Otherwise, you can also shorten the hours per day and expand the number of days to 5 days instead.

Good seasons to visit Japan are in spring, to experience the nation's famed cherry blossom season, and fall, for beautiful foliage, plus Takaoka Craft Ichiba-machi and Takaoka Craft Exhibition are also held in the city end of September each year.

It's best to avoid winter holiday and New Years (Dec. 24 - Jan. 7) as many businesses close.

This VAWAA is available for a longer duration, up to 5 days. Please note that you'll be using a hammer for 5 hours per day. If this sounds too difficult, you can also shorten the hours per day and expand the number of days to 4-5 days instead. We can also discuss opportunities for collaboration or internships. If interested in extending your time, let us know by how many days and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Yoshinori's Availability 3 days

Guest Reviews

1
  • Ronald Y., United States

    the brass bell crafting workshop was a wonderful and positive experience. you craft your bell with other craftsmen in the work area. this workshop does each steps in a traditional manner using basic hand tools eg.,hammer and anvil. my sense accomplishment grows as i created a bell from thick sheets of brass. the craftsmen are happy help you improve your bell and skill, in part because they know so Read more