Sightseeing in Shikoku: Kazura Basket Weaving and Soba Making at Experience Atelier Tsuzuki - Vikingess Voyages

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Sightseeing in Shikoku: Kazura Basket Weaving and Soba Making at Experience Atelier Tsuzuki

If you have the chance to travel around Tokushima and are looking for some unique cultural experience to try out along the way then a stop at a vine weaving experience might be a fun option for you. The vine tree is known in Japanese as "kazura", and is particularly known in Tokushima as an important material used for everything from weaving baskets to making great extension bridges.
During my recent trip to Tokushima and Iya valley we stopped by Experience Atelier Tsuzuki (the full Japanese name is 祖谷めんめ塾 古式そば かずら工芸 体験 都築) where we had the chance both to weave our own basket using local weaving techniques as well as making our own soba noodles.

Experience Atelier Tsuzuki was not the easiest place to get to without a car. We left our ryokan hotel Hotel Kazurabashi in the morning by bus, and one of the hotel representatives had to ask the bus driver to take a little detour in order to let us off outside the place.

The entrance seen from the road
The stairs down to the atelier
At the atelier we were met by two obasan ladies who greeted us happily. We were a group of 6, and while three of us joined the soba noodle making experience the other half of us had decided to go for the kazura basket weaving experience.

Making soba noodles from scratch
My husband and his father joined my grandmother for the noodle making. Although my grandmother doesn't speak Japanese they helped explaining the process for her in English. It seemed like the English knowledge of the two ladies was limited, so for those interested in visiting it would be recommended to bring someone who can act as an interpreter.
Above: The base of the kazura basket 
My husband's mother, my mother and myself chose to go for the basket weaving. Using the delicate kazura vines we were shown how to make a whole basket starting only with a couple of vines.

Above: The base of the kazura basket is starting to take shape
Above: My grandmother finished her soba-making early and joined us for the kazura weaving
Above: Almost completed basket
For both the soba noodle experience and the kazura basket weaving experience we got to bring the completed items with us back home. After we were done with the various experiences we also had lunch inside the house, a meal that included locally produced vegetables and the fresh soba we had just made.

Freshly made soba noodles ready to be cooked and eaten!
Lunch made from locally produced vegetables
We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the house and one of the ladies entertained us by singing some local songs. Apparently she used to be a professional singer when she was young. This was truly a workshop full of interesting things to experience! 

 Basic Info
  • Experience Atelier Tsuzuki (祖谷めんめ塾 古式そば かずら工芸 体験 都築)
  • Address:84-1 Higashiiyawakabayashi, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima-ken 778-0204
  • 【Soba Making Experience】
    • ■Cost:  3000 yen/person including lunch with mountain vegetables
  • 【Kazura Handicraft Experience】 
    • ■Cost: 1,000 yen/person for the experience + 1,000 yen for the materials
  •  Duration of experience: Around 2 hour for either of the experiences
  •  Holidays: No specific holidays but they require reservation a couple of days in advance
  • Homepage (Japanese only):

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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