A unique event returning to London in early November is Toyama Week running from the 31st October to 5th November. Last year, we joined Toyama Week’s event at Japan House London where Buddhist Bell Artisan Shimatani Yoshinori gave a fascinating presentation, followed by his Suzugami Workshop at Pantechnicon. For Toyama Week in 2023, Ki:ts London will offer a unique shopping experience with their EDIT Toyama Pop-Up where you can purchase beautiful Suzugami tin paper, tableware and metal crafts from Toyama artisans. There will also be exciting live demonstrations by confectionery artisan Hikiami Yasuhiro at Pantechnicon and his talk covering the Edible Art of Wagashi at Japan House.
Do you know Toyama?
First, let’s provide an introduction to Toyama prefecture. It’s located in the Hokuriku region of Japan, on the Sea of Japan coast which is the opposite side of Japan from Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. Looking at the meaning of Toyama (富山), we know that the character “To (富)” means treasure while “Yama (山)” stands for mountain. Together we have “treasure mountain” and this is fitting for Toyama, a prefecture famous for it’s hot springs, ski areas, and the Tateyama Alpine route with 20 metre high snow walls.
Another draw for Toyama, being the gateway to the sea of Japan, is its fantastic seafood. Toyama is also referred to as “Land of Water”, due to the region being blessed with abundant rich water from several rivers flowing down from steep mountains into Toyama Bay, which is over 1000 metres deep. Other notable attractions are the traditional farmhouse villages of Gokayama – similar to Shirakawa-go in nearby Gifu but less frequented by tourists. From Tokyo, it’s just over a two-hour bullet train (Shinkansen) ride from Tokyo to Toyama City, or 1 hour 40 minutes from Takayama as shown in the map below.
Since the Edo period, Toyama has become renowned for its artisans and craftsmanship. In particular, the Maeda Family who controlled the Kaga area of Western Toyama encouraged the development of artisan crafts such as metalworking. This practice continues to this day, with methods being passed down from generation to generation.
What’s on offer at EDIT TOYAMA?
There are several exciting items on offer at the EDIT Toyama Pop-Up, with the spotlight being on Suzugami, but what exactly is it?
The city of Takaoka in Toyama is home to a remarkable tin product called Suzugami. Unlike most other materials, this thin sheet of tin can be repeatedly bent, folded and flattened without breaking, similar to how paper is manipulated for origami. The malleability of the metal is due to its properties combined with the insights of craftspeople who have mastered hand-hammering techniques typically used for making traditional instruments. Each piece created by this method requires an immense amount of skill as it must be hammered into shape and then patterned while still maintaining its strength through repeated use. Consequently, only a select few artisans remain in Japan that can produce such high quality craftsmanship.
The unique properties of the traditional Japanese metalwork allows for the incorporation of Suzugami into daily life. Not only can it be used as a side plate for desserts or a coaster for drinks, but the material can even be folded in creative ways to serve as a decorative element in the home.
At (Ki:ts), the selection of Toyama products available from the 31st October ranging from Suzugami to metalcraft tools will give you a true taste of the region. Click the link to find out more on what is available at the EDIT TOYAMA Pop-up Shop at (Ki:ts).
Where is EDIT TOYAMA taking place?
For those of you who love Japanese and British culture, visiting the EDIT Toyama Pop-Up should be top on your list when in Central London. It’ll be taking place at the Ki:ts London Store opposite Selfridges, where the Japanese and British concept shop created by Takaharu Osako offers an array of items such as clothing, homeware, tableware, bath products, cookware, perfume, ceramics and pottery. Not only is it a great spot to find fashionable items for yourself but also ideal for special gifts like birthday presents for friends. So make sure you check out EDIT Toyama Pop-Up.
Ki:ts Website: https://kits-london.com/
Address: 31A Duke Street London W1U 1LS
Opening Hours: Monday 11:00 – 19:00 | Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 – 19:00 | Sunday 12:00 – 18:30