What kind of lighting do you imagine when you think of relaxation?
Isn’t it a soft light, like the sunset or the flame of a fireplace?
Aiming to create such light, “Akari Kobo Yoshino” has been making and selling Japanese-style lighting using Yoshino’s materials for about 20 years.
Under the theme of “light therapy,” Akari Kobo handcrafts “akari (lighting)” are made out of high-quality Yoshino cypress, Yoshino cedar and handmade washi paper; all ingredients that have been cultivated with the blessings of people and nature.
Here, you can experience making lights using the original kits prepared. It’s easier and more fun than you think, and you can create a wonderful soft lightning for your own home.
There are three types of crafting experiences that even first-timers can participate in.
Triangular shape light made with Yoshino cypress and washi paper
: Approx. 2.5 hours (2 or more people, reservation required)
This light takes the most time to put together out of all the courses. First, attach a lamp to the stand of Yoshino cypress, and stick the thin cypress plate and washi paper together to complete the shape. Then, cut the nicely colored washi paper (which was dyed with color taken from plants) into your favorite patterns and paste them on the light. The size of the light is large enough that you can see the difference in how the light is affected by the washi paper and Japanese cypress, so this course is very popular.
Hand-painted paper light
: Approx. 1.5 hours (2 or more people, reservation required)
This experience can be recommended to those with children. After attaching a lamp and frame on the Yoshino cedar stand, the main body is complete. Next, draw patterns on the Yoshino washi paper by hand. When it is dry, wrap the paper around the main body and you are done! The cover can be easily removed and replaced, so you can change the cover for each season.
Yoshino cypress candle holder
: Approx. 0.5 hours (2 or more people, reservation required)
This can be put together easily in a short amount of time, so even small children can make their own. All you have to do is punch holes in a sheet of Yoshino cypress wood. It comes with a safe LED candle, but it can also be used with real candles since it is made out of glass.
By experiencing light-making, you can refresh yourself as you concentrate on the project. You can also get a nice sense of accomplishment from lighting up your completed work. In addition, you can use it to relax everyday.
By the way, the workshop is a space with a pleasant and relaxing scent as it is constructed of natural materials such as clayey walling, cypress, and cedar. There are also various interesting works of art exhibited in the workshop that you can check out as well.
When it is illuminated, the unique material made by slicing Yoshino cedar into thin slices and stacking them in artistic patterns creates a warm orange color. The overlapping shadows from the pattern creates the illusion of movement like a flame, drawing the gaze of those around it.
The forest of Yoshino is one of the three major beautiful artificial forests of Japan. The daughter of a sawmill-owning family (specializing in Yoshino cedar) operates “Akari Kobo Yoshino.” Because of this you can be sure that only the most beautiful and high-quality Yoshino cedar is used for the construction of the lights.
In addition, handmade washi paper, which has been made according to traditional methods in the Kuzu area of Yoshino town for 1300 years, is used for the lights. The Fukunishi Washi Honpo workshop (one of the Kuzu-based workshops) adheres to a washi paper manufacturing method that is ancient in origin, using a rare sun-drying process and manual work.
“Uda paper,” which is made by mixing white clay with kozo (a kind of tree and raw material of washi paper), is a kind of washi paper that is used to restore traditional Japanese hanging scrolls in museums around the world, including the Imperial Household Agency, the Louvre Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The washi paper used for the light-making experience is made out of 100% kozo, so it is very thin, fine and durable. Since it also has good translucency, it diffuses even the dazzling light of the LED into a soft light, making it a perfect material for creating a relaxing atmosphere.
The lights made at Akari Kobo are very popular as gifts for new construction celebrations, birthdays, and souvenirs for people overseas. You can also order custom-made original products, so why don’t you get some new lighting to make your home a relaxing place when building a new house or remodeling?
Akari Kobo Yoshino
* Reservation required for both visits and light-making experiences.