Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Traditional Handicrafts Gallery and Cafe WARAKU

Cafe Spotlight: Gallery & Cafe WARAKU ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽
Gallery & Cafe WARAKU ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽
An amazing hidden gem of a cafe for those interested in Japanese traditional handicrafts. WARAKU is a gallery, shop, cafe, and classroom all in one!

As soon as you enter the building, you are surrounded by various fabric crafts, particularly tsurushi kazari, elaborate hanging mobiles of hand-sewn dolls/figures made to wish for the health/prosperity, etc. of children. (Please do not touch the art works on display!)
Gallery & Cafe WARAKU ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽
Gallery & Cafe WARAKU ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽
There are over 100 different types of commonly used decorations for tsurushi kazari, and each decoration carries a specific meaning/wish, for example: (the red of) strawberries to ward off evil; carrots for health; taiko drums to scare off evil and welcome good fortune; cranes for long life; etc.
Gallery & Cafe WARAKU Tsurushi Kazari Hanging Ornaments ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽 つるし飾り
Most of the works on display were made by one lovely lady, 90-year-old!-Tsuya Matsuzaka (松坂つや、90歳). Her interest in handicrafts started about 40 years ago with patchwork, but about 10 years ago she became interested in tsurushi kazari after seeing a program about them on television. Since then, apart from making numerous works, she has also sought to promote interest in traditional handicrafts through exhibiting her artworks, teaching classes, and leading the Towada Tsurushi Kazari Appreciation Group (十和田つるし飾り愛好会 Towada Tsurushi Kazari Aikoukai).
Tsuya Matsuzaka 松坂つや Gallery & Cafe WARAKU ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽
If seeing the splendid works makes you want to try your own hand at it, there are tsurushi kazari classes at WARAKU on Thursdays and Fridays. On Saturdays there are "1 Day Trial Classes" (1日体験教室 Ichi Nichi Taiken Kyoushitsu) where you can complete a small decorative work within the one class. The dates, themes, costs, and other details for the Saturday classes change each month, so please check the website, call or ask at the store for specific details. 

If you prefer to purchase handicrafts instead of making them for yourself, definitely check out the store. Along with handmade decorative items, brooches, etc., there are also used kimono available for purchase.  
Handicrafts Gallery & Cafe WARAKU ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽
 At the cafe, you can enjoy a delicious and healthy Kimagure* Lunch (*chef's whim), handmade chiffon cake, and coffee, tea, or juice.
Gallery & Cafe WARAKU ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽
Kimagure Lunch きまぐれランチ 800yen
(Comes with coffee but you can request to substitute the coffee for another drink)
Kimagure Lunch Gallery & Cafe WARAKU きまぐれランチ ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽Kimagure Lunch Gallery & Cafe WARAKU きまぐれランチ ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽
Chiffon Cake シフォンケーキ 300yen
(Cake Set ケーキセット (chiffon cake + coffee) available for 500yen)
Chiffon Cake Gallery & Cafe WARAKU シフォンケーキ ギャラリー&布カフェWA楽

Hours: 10:00-15:00 Thursday-Saturday; Closed Sunday-Wednesday
Website: http://ameblo.jp/waraku-towada (Japanese)
Price Range: ~1000yen
English/Picture Menu: N/A
Seating: Table* (3 tables x 4 seats) and Counter (6 seats); Non-Smoking Environment
(*low tables with cushions to sit on, but there is depression in the floor under the table so you don't have to sit cross-legged)
Good For: Solo Dining, Couples, Small Groups
Reservations: Usually not necessary
Phone: 090-4639-1246 (Miura 三浦)
Parking: Available (a few spots to the south side of the building)
Higashigobanchō, 10−15 (十和田市東五番町10-15)
Towada, Aomori Prefecture, 034-0033

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