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The Way The Nori Rolls

Origami Kaikan, Tokyo

JAPAN | Monday, 22 March 2010 | Views [4214]

For a real origami treat in Tokyo, look no further than the Origami Kaikan in Ochanomizu.  Established in 1859, the Origami kaikan houses an impressive display of origami creations in addition to an origami school, a workshop that manufactures of washi (a fibrous paper made from pulped tree bark) and a shop selling a whole manner of washi and origami related products.

Simon and I popped into the Origami Kaikan with the intention of staying just a few minutes... and emerged over an hour later after forcing ourselves to keep moving to avoid obliterating our schedule. 

Between stunning origami displays and watching the making and decorating of washi paper, we were thoroughly entertained and when one of the kaikan staff invited us to join an instructional origami class, well, we could hardly refuse… nor could we refuse the offer for a second class!  After making paper cranes (that can also double up as sweet-holders for dinner parties) and a pair of ‘hot lips’, we were introduced to Mr. Kobayashi Kazuo – chairman of the kaikan, origami master and, as we soon discovered, author of a fantastic origami book that both Simon and I had both purchased in Matsumoto the previous week! 

Mr. Kazuo has been practicing origami for over 30 years, displaying all this experience when, with only so much as the occasional quick glance down to his hands, he expertly made a pair of intricately folded, 5-paper kimono dolls (and very kindly gave them to us as a gift as we left the centre!)

The Origami kaikan is free to enter and often offers impromptu origami classes like the ones Simon and I took part in.  Ongoing and more complex classes are also offered for a fee.  It’s something a little different to break up a day of sightseeing and what’s more is that the cute origami kits and stunning handmade washi paper on sale make for great presents when you get home.

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