The Japan Folk Crafts Museum




One crisp and clear winter morning, we ventured a short distance from our apartment by bicycle to The Japan Folk Crafts Museum. Built in 1936, the main building contains an astonishingly large collection of pieces from various time periods and places around Japan, and other parts of the world. This beautiful collection belonged to Soetsu Yanagi – a philosopher and avid collector. Yanagi was the founder of the Mingei movement almost ninety years ago – a movement based in recognizing the social and spiritual significance of bringing practical beauty into our homes. Visible in the vast collection of objects in the museum, such as woven textiles, ceramics, lacquer ware, paintings, metal, and stone objects, Yanagi believed that the beauty of craft reached it’s peak in the pre-industrial age – a time when people depended on, and had a much stronger appreciation for the hand-made. It’s a Saturday morning and the museum is filled with people both young and old, admirering the pieces and relishing in the beauty of the handmade, and of tradition.

Across the street from the museum, was once the house of Soetsu Yanagi – the house in which he lived until his death at the age of 72. Usually open to the public on the second Wednesday and Saturday of the month, the day we visited, it was unfortunately closed. However, an hour inside the main museum building was certainly a charming experience on its own. And the museum shop sells a huge variety of traditional hand-made Japanese items for the home. Divine.

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