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Japan House London Family Workshops

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Explore the cultures of Japan this Easter with a series of free family-friendly workshops. During each workshop, participants can enjoy learning about Japan and unleashing their creativity while trying an activity using original Japan House London worksheets.

Create Your Own Koinobori

On 5 May, in celebration of Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day, originally a celebration for boys and known as Tango-no-sekku), Japanese families usually hang koinobori (carp-shaped windsocks) outside their houses. Be inspired by the history and colours of koinobori, using your creativity to colour in the template. After colouring your design with your colours or patterns of choice, cut out the template to bring your own koinobori to life. 

Design Your Own Kokeshi

Kokeshi are painted wooden dolls from the Tōhoku region in north-eastern Japan. It is thought they were first made in the late Edo period (1603-1868 CE) by local craftspeople as toys for children and souvenirs for visitors to hot spring towns. Today, various kokeshi have developed in the Tōhoku region, characterized by different shapes and patterns. Choose from paper templates of three different kokeshi from the Tōhoku region and design your own patterns.  

Make Your Own Paper Ema

Ema (lit. ‘picture horses’) are palm-sized wooden tablets seen at shrines throughout Japan. Typically, shrinegoers write prayers or wishes on them and hang them at the shrine as offerings. In the Hida Takayama region of Gifu Prefecture, ema are made from paper and decorated with a picture of a horse.

Make your own paper ema using an original Japan House London activity worksheet. The worksheet features a template created by Ikemoto-ya, a famed ema-maker based in Takayama City. Decorate the horse with lucky patterns, add wishes for good fortune and good health and display the completed ema at the entrance of your home to invite in good luck. Remember to hang the ema with the horse’s head facing inwards, so as to carry good fortune inside.  

Origami: Paper Cranes and Kabuto Helmets 

Try your hand at origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. Guests can make their own orizuru (folded crane) to wish for peace and hope for the future or make a paper kabuto helmet based on those worn by samurai and bushi, Japanese warriors. Ornamental kabuto are displayed by many families in Japan on 5 May in celebration of Kodomono Hi (Children’s Day), representing the family’s wish for their children to grow up strong and brave. Make your own miniature kabuto using origami paper and display it in your home as a symbol of strength and vitality or use a page of newspaper cut into a square to make one big enough to wear.  

Workshop Timetable 

Monday 10 April 2023 14:00-15:00, 15:30-16:30 (KokeshiPaper Ema) – The Hall
Tuesday 1April 2023 14:30-16:30 (Koinobori) – The Library 
Wednesday 1April 2023 14:30-16:30 (Origami) – The Library
Thursday 1April 2023 14:00-15:00, 15:30-17:00 (KokeshiKoinobori) – The Hall
Friday 1April 2023 14:00-15:00, 15:30-17:00 (Paper EmaKoinobori) – The Hall
Sunday 1April 2023 14:30-16:30 (Origami) – The Library 


Booking Tickets: 

Workshops in the Library on 11, 12 and 16 April are run as continuous drop-in sessions with entry on a first-come first-served basis. 

For workshops in the Hall on 10, 13 and 15 April, please select the workshop type below and click on the button to book your free ticket. You will be able to select your preferred workshop date and time at the point of booking.  

Create Your Own Koinobori Fully booked
Design Your Own Kokeshi Fully booked
Make Your Own Paper Ema Fully booked