Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center is an exhibition space, gallery and gift shop in Asakusa which is completely free to enter. The Center showcases the very best traditional hand-crafted goods of Tokyo’s Taito ward, and regularly displays around 250 items from around 48 different craft industries. Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center was recently closed for an extended period for renovations, but reopened in the spring of 2019. This is a great place to learn about a key part of local history and culture.
Taito is a special ward of Tokyo that is famous for having well-preserved “Shitamachi” or downtown districts in areas such as Asakusa and Ueno. During the Edo period (1603 – 1868) Taito was the area where regular tradesmen lived, and the nearby Sumida River was a major transportation route for materials and goods. As a result traditional artisanal crafts flourished here and Taito is still a thriving center for the traditional crafts industry.
Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center has two floors. The 1st floor includes a reception area, a gift shop, and an exhibition space comprising both permanent exhibits and a special exhibition area. The special exhibits focus on one specific craft and highlight artisanal techniques in great detail. On the 2nd floor there are more permanent exhibits, an event space, and a library. Detailed information on the exhibits is available in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean on the Center’s website, and this can be accessed by your smart phone via an on-site QR code.
Among the diverse craftworks on display are sudare screens made from reeds or bamboo, kiriko cut glassware, blades, lacquerware, silverware, copperware, woodblock prints, costumed wooden dolls, wooden cabinets, wooden sculptures, traditional instruments, brushes, hair accessories, traditional bows and arrows, bamboo fishing rods, lanterns, portable Shinto shrines, and Buddhist household altars.
On Saturdays and Sundays, there are regular demonstrations and talks given by local traditional artisans. Hands-on craft workshops are also held about three times a year but require an advance booking. Workshops and events are posted in advance on the Center’s website.
Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center is located on the west side of Asakusa Hisago-Dori Shopping Street. Here is a map showing its location. It is a 5 minute walk from TX Asakusa Station on the Tsukuba Express Line and around 12 minutes from the Toei, Tokyo Metro, and Tobu Asakusa stations.
Address: 2-22-13 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo-to 111-0032
Opening Hours: 10.00 – 18.00
Closed on 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month (or the following day if Tuesday is a National Holiday).
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.