Mokuhankan 'Print Parties'
A 'don't miss' activity next time you're in Tokyo!
What is a Print Party? - a one-hour session for you (and friends) at the Mokuhankan woodblock printmaking workshop in Asakusa, Tokyo
What goes on? - pre-carved woodblocks, tools and all the equipment for printing is prepared. The Mokuhankan staffers will take you through the process of pulling your own prints from them.
Where does it happen? - the Mokuhankan workshop is located in the Kaminarimon district of Asakusa. To get to our place from the steps of the main Sensoji Temple takes less than two minutes!
How much does it cost? - a participation fee of 2,000 yen per person (discounted for families or groups.)
How do I join? - a calendar below shows available dates and times. You can make a reservation even before you leave your home country! (Or if you're still not sure about your schedule in Tokyo, we can send you a reminder email when you arrive ...)
Are you planning a trip to Tokyo? If so, then of course you'll be coming here to Asakusa ...
... so while you're in the neighbourhood, stroll over to Mokuhankan and make yourself some woodblock prints!
A typical party ...
As described in the sidebar above, making your own print to take home - with the assistance of the young Mokuhankan printing staff - is of course the main activity at a Print Party, but it's not all you will do:
- At the other end of the building is our printer's workroom, and you are welcome to visit and watch the work in progress. Not all the people working there can speak great English, but those who can are willing to talk about their work. (But don't bother them too much - this is how they make a living!)
- You are certainly not limited to a single shot at the Print Party bench, and indeed, nearly all attendees want to try a few times. The learning curve is not so severe, and by the third or fourth try, we usually see some excellent prints coming off the blocks! (Perhaps we'll offer you a job! :-)
- We can't offer an open bar, but we do have a complimentary coffee corner, along with some nice Japanese snacks. (No Baren Cookies yet, unfortunately!)
- And of course we have a shop here too, where you can browse and hopefully find interesting items for yourself, or as souvenirs for friends and family back home.
Our shop is on the second floor of a long and narrow building on 'Roku-dori', one of the most interesting streets in the Asakusa area of Tokyo.
It has three main sections: the front room overlooking the street is the 'event space' where the Print Parties are held. The six-mat tatami room at the very rear of the building is set up for two of our printers to use as a small workroom (visitors are welcome to kick off their shoes, and step up onto the mats to watch - quietly!). In between these two is the shop itself, with a good selection of our prints available, and a special display we have prepared of 'Living with Woodblock Prints', showing you some of the ways that we have created that let you enjoy your beautiful prints without framing them up on a wall ...
The street address is: Asakusa 1-41-8, Taito-ku, Tokyo. Our phone # is 070-5011-1418, and the shop hours are 10:00 am to 5:30 pm (closed Tuesdays).
It just could not be simpler to get here. From the main Kaminarimon Gate, head up through the Nakamise shopping street. Just before you get to Sensoji Temple, at the point where the shops on the left side end, turn left onto the famous Denpo-in Dori (street). Walk along, under the giant red Torii, and at the place where five streets join together, we are now five seconds away, on the left side of the main street right in front of you ...
When you're on your way to our place, you can watch this video [(coming soon)] walking that same route to help you get here. There is also an alternate route [(coming soon)] for that rainy day, that stays mostly under cover. Also, do you see the other train station - just to the left of us on that map above? That's the Asakusa Station for the new Tsukuba Express, which you can catch at Akihabara ... which is surely on your itinerary, no?
We've started to get our first reviews ...
And on JapanTravel.com ...
Print Party pricing
Our pricing is very reasonable, and also 'kid-friendly'. (The activity is not suitable for very young children. Kids from (around) 10 years of age or so usually have no problem making a nice print, but they must always be accompanied by an adult.)
- One person: 2,000 yen
- Additional people in group: 1,500 yen each
- Family Pack: two adults + up to three kids = 4,000 yen
- Extra kids: 500 yen each
- Small Family Pack: one adult + up to two kids = 3,000 yen
- Extra kids: 500 yen each
- We have three or four 1-hour Parties scheduled most days; their starting times are shown here.
- Time slots in red are full up (or not available).
- If you wish to reserve a time farther down the line than is shown on these calendars, please just use the Contact Page to let us know what you want.
- No advance payment is required.
- If you have previously made a reservation, and want to change something, please use our Contact Form to let us know.
The Tokyo 'Early Morning Start' problem ...
You're here in Tokyo, jet-lagged from the recent plane trip. Early morning ... you're wide awake ... but outside your hotel all you find are empty streets ... A trip to the famous Tsukiji fish market is one solution, but what do you do next? And what about the next day?
We at Mokuhankan have a solution - join one of our morning Print Parties!
- We offer - on request - morning Print Parties (earlier than our usual starting time of 10:00)
- If you are staying at one of the airbnb/hotels/hostels on this list, you are less than a five-minute walk from our front door.
- The café across the street from us offers a 'Morning Service' from 7:00AM.
- After your Party - about an hour is typical for a 2~4 person group - you are then ready to stroll over to Sensoji to begin the rest of your day's activities.
If this sounds like it might be up your alley, please use the contact page to send us a request, and we'll try to set it up for you. (We can't put this on the automatic reservation page, because we don't have staff available for this every day ...)
'Jog me' service ...
Now, hands up all of you planning a trip to Japan who know already what days you will be free when you arrive in Tokyo ...
I thought so. You have no idea. So we offer a "Jog me, please!" service. If you think you might be interested in joining a Print Party when you are here, but don't yet know when/if you will be available, use our Jog Me! form to give us your name, email, and anticipated date of arrival in Tokyo. The form allows you to select how and when you would like to be reminded about these Parties.
There is of course no obligation for you then to attend a party; you may not have time. Simply we are trying to make it as easy as possible to make this happen ...
Do you like cooking?
We don't do any cooking here at Mokuhankan, but we have a great idea for those of you who like to put on the Chef's Hat. Ms. Yoshimi Daido - a most elegant and wonderfully conversant young Japanese lady of our acquaintance - runs Tokyo Kitchen, "a place where you can learn to cook authentic Japanese home dishes in English in a friendly atmosphere."
She's located about a four~five minute walk from us, and it would be a great way to spend a day in Asakusa: cook up a storm at her place in the morning, eat your own creation for lunch, then stroll along Denpo-in street to Mokuhankan for an afternoon Print Party.
Are there other interesting things to do in our neighbourhood? Yes, indeed! There is far too much to list here! On a separate page we have prepared a little map of the area within a two~three minute walk, along with lots of photos and more details about what to do nearby ...
But this photo - showing the evening scene just a 5-second stroll from our front door - might just give you a feeling for what our neighbourhood is like!
Some Background on the Print Parties
The Print Parties had their start back in 1989, when Dave carved a simple set of four blocks and took them to the 'Culture Festival' being held at a local community center.
He prepared four brushes, four bowls of pigment, and four printing barens, as well as a thick stack of paper. Within a few minutes of opening up in the morning he had a line of people waiting their turn, and the action didn't let up until the event was over that evening. Hundreds of people made their way along the table, using the tools and materials - under his watchful eye and guidance of course - to make their own woodblock print. It was so popular that it became a regular part of the annual Festival, and he took a fresh set of blocks along every year.
Skip ahead to 2012 and the start of the Kickstarter campaign for the Ukiyoe Heroes woodblock prints. Jed and Dave were thinking of ways to make the campaign more interesting, and decided to include an option for any backers who might be planning to be in Japan soon, to visit Dave's workshop for a 'Print Party', based on the same kind of activity. It was limited to 12 backers ... and it sold out in minutes. Most of those Parties have been held now (a photo from one of them is at the top of the page), and they have been hugely successful!
So here we are; based on those experiences, Dave has set up a room in his Asakusa workshop specially dedicated to Print Parties! And you don't have to line up, because you can book in advance!
We hope to see you soon!