In 1954, an effort was begun to promote the traditional art of lacquer-ware production from a small borrowed room in Takamatsu Industrial Arts High School. After years of gradual success, an independent institute began to take shape, eventually taking root in its current home at the Takamatsu Prefecture Cultural Center.
Lacquer refers to the sap that is taken from a tree found throughout East and Southeast Asia. It has been used for thousands of years as a protective coating for all manner of everyday household items.
What is referred to as lacquer-ware today has its origins in China, entering Japan principally during the Tang dynasty along with a host of other sophisticated cultural practices and spiritual systems. From that point, lacquer-ware continued to develop as an art form.
With a mind to keep lacquer-ware production alive and developing in Japan, the institute was conceived and today is a fully functioning three year school. The yearly intake of students is set at a maximum of ten and daily courses provide instruction in subjects such as traditional painting, woodwork and lacquer-ware application techniques.
Students are required to have graduated from high school and be under 35 years of age at the time of enrollment. If you are interested in learning the art of lacquer-ware-making, there are open campus events held throughout the year.
The institute also hosts regular exhibitions of student work and that of their master instructors. There are opportunities to purchase some of the pieces as well.
Lacquer-ware-making experiences are possible from Monday to Friday from 9am-4pm with prior registration. Take the chance to try your hand at this ancient art form which might open the door to a new hobby or even a new career.
Access: Take the Marine Liner from JR Okayama Station to JR Takamatsu Station. Urushi Lacquer-ware Institute is about a 15 minute walk from JR Takamatsu Station.
About the Area
Takamatsu City is the commercial center of Shikoku and has a urban feel that is befitting to the title. Its lovely boulevards and well-developed port area create an ambiance that is truly cosmopolitan.
Must-see spots for visitors include, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu Castle, the central shopping arcade and the port area art installations.
Yakuri Station is the entry point to the Yashima district of Takamatsu City, which is well-known for its temple near the summit of the unique and iconic table top-shaped Mt. Yashima. The vista from the mountain is highly-prized and well worth the effort to get there. However, to best appreciate its entire shape, the view from Sunport Takamatsu Symbol Tower is recommended.
Yashima is notable for its eateries, many of which serve the renowned local specialty, udon noodles.
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