I gave the original glass making program a try at the glass workshop!
Haitai, it’s Mahae.
I visited the Ryukyu Glass Village in Itoman City. Here you can get an up-close look at the skills of glass craftsmen and give glass making a try for yourself!
After enjoying a cup of coffee at Fukuji Shoten, I took part in the popular glass making program!
Ryukyu Glass is a traditional craft that is said to have taken form as a result of the spreading of various techniques from outside the prefecture during the Meiji era. After the end of WWII, it took on a uniquely Okinawan style with the incorporation of colorful glass bottles discarded by the US military.
Find Select Items from Across Okinawa at Fukuji Shoten
▲ Fukuji Shoten opened in May of last year. Among the carefully selected items that line the shelves, you can find original items that are only sold here.
Located at the entrance facing Route 331, Fukuji Shoten sells a variety of handpicked products from the local area of Itoman as well as other regions, and also has a selection of craft goods and delicious food items.
The shop’s wooden interior gives off a calm ambience, and you can really enjoy your time looking at whatever catches your eye!♪
I was really digging it.
There’s a café in one corner of the shop, where they have light meals and drinks.
▲ This is the café inside Fukuji Shoten. You can order at the counter and take a seat to enjoy your food.
Drinks poured into Ryukyu Glass are so colorful and attractive that you won’t be able to help yourself from snapping pictures.
I ordered the SPAM and egg sandwich and a dragon fruit cider.
The dragon fruit cider is both sweet and sour, and so refreshing!
▲ Seen here are the red kidney bean sandwich, guava sandwich, guava cider, and mango cider.
There were so many other items on the menu that all looked so amazing!♪
When it comes to mealtime, I also recommend the Fukuji Shoten Diner on the 2nd floor of the main building.♪
You can enjoy the unique taste of Okinawa, including the most popular “Uminchu no Machi Itoman Curry”!
The craftsmen’s skills are incredible. Take an Up-Close Tour of the Glass Workshop
Past Fukuji Shoten is the glass workshop, where you can get an up-close look at the mastery of the craftsmen.
Glass pieces melted like glazing in a pot heated up to 1,300 degrees celsius serve as the raw materials used for this craft.
▲ Seen here is a melting furnace standing tall in the center of the glass workshop. You can feel the warmth even in the middle of winter.
You can peek into the workshop to see the craftsmen hard at work with intense focus and precision.
What could they be making?
It was a dish in a color as beautiful as the sea surrounding Okinawa.♪
The craftsmen seem to work skillfully on each and every piece.
You can take home special memories! Original Glass Making Program
At Ryukyu Glass Village, you can experience glass making under the guidance of professional craftsmen.♪
First, choose the colors for the glass. I went with the colors in the middle!
Sign up on the 1st floor of the main building: prices start at 1,620 yen
After you get a numbered ticket at the reception desk, wait in front of the glass workshop with everyone else!
You will first receive instructions on the various steps and precautions to be aware of in glass making.
It’s finally my turn!
The craftsman wraps the glass around the tip of the blowing iron.
Here it is! The moment of excitement!
Blow at the instruction of the craftsman.
It’s all blown up♪ And the glassblowing part is complete.
▲ The mold features a pattern, which takes on a stunning form as it is blown up.
Reheat to soften, then prepare the spout. This is an important task that determines the quality of the final product!
With a pair of scissors in your right hand, turn the rod back and forth with your left hand.
While It’s not easy to move both hands at the same time, there’s nothing to worry about though because the craftsman will guide you along the way.
As the glass cools and solidifies, the color gradually begins to change.
My glass is finally ready!
It’s a very special piece; like no other in the world!♪
Our glasses are then slowly cooled in a kiln known as an annealing furnace.
My handmade glasses have arrived!
You can pick up the finished pieces in person after three days.
You can also have them mailed across Japan or even overseas!
There’s so much charm about the Ryukyu Glass Art. The shopping center is a place where you can see, touch, and buy glasswork.
The shopping center holds a wide variety of glass products on display, from new items to the more staple items.
I found myself absorbed in the beauty of the colorful Ryukyu Glass!
With such a wide selection of glass products, from accessories to lamps, I feel like I could look around forever!
I was told that they can also ship the items you purchase anywhere in Japan or the world!
Jangaraya Is a Place Where You Can Find Ryukyu Glass at a Reasonable Price
▲ Seen here is the entrance to the glass outlet shop Jangaraya.
Go down the stairs leading from the shopping center, and you will see the glass outlet shop Jangaraya!
Here you can find items that you won’t find at ordinary shops,
such as those that are no longer produced, as well as prototypes,
which are made available at reasonable prices.
You might make a lucky discovery!♪
The “Ping-Pong Ball-Tossing Game” is popular at Jangaraya!
If you can throw the ping-pong ball and make it into one of the glasses, you get to keep that glass.
Check out the world of Ryukyu Glass, Okinawa’s unique traditional craft, at the Ryukyu Glass Village, where there are plenty of activities that people of all ages can enjoy.♪