Mountains of talent and skill: Tajima Glass

Glass. When you think of traditional Japan souvenirs, maybe… low on the list.

Unless you’ve heard about Tajima Glass.

The original art master behind Tajima glass is Tajima Matsutaro, who opened his first Tokyo glass-making factory in 1956. It moved (within Tokyo) in 1962, and since then Tajima’s steadily produced beautiful glassware. Mainly tumblers and wine glasses, but every one of them flawless.

A balance of traditional, high-quality glassmaking techniques and modern innovation keeps Tajima relevant. They don’t so much adapt to new glassware trends as create them. We’re talking about a company that makes a ‘wine-bler’ (wine tumbler) here.

Mt. Fuji rock glass

Tajima decided to take ‘on the rocks’ a step further than normal. Each glass has a mini Mt. Fuji carved into the base. It’s designed in extreme detail, to look as realistic as possible.

What with Fuji-san being a World Heritage site and THE symbol of Japan, the chances of this style not being popular were tiny. The glass is also part of Tajima’s ‘Edo Glass’ sub-range, adding to the traditional feel. It was quickly featured on Japanese TV, and went viral on Weibo.

Depending what drink you pour, the mountain’s reflected in the same shade. Light and shadow in the room also change the look – as will fruit slices, and those little cocktail umbrellas. It’s so subtle, and really gives you an appreciation for how carefully each glass is made.

The design’s won awards as a coveted Japan souvenir, and as an example of amazing craftwork. A great gift – almost too nice to use. Almost.

Mt. Fuji snowpeak cups

Okay, there’s one other Fuji-san glass range: little cups. They’re called ‘The Toast of Mt. Fuji’, and no wonder. Perfect size to use as toasting glasses at parties. We can’t suggest trying to do shots out of them, though. Sure, they’d hold enough liquid, but the lip’s too wide. You’d pour half the shot down your face. Stick to sipping.

The red or blue glass is layered and shaped on top of clear glass. Every cup’s still hand-made, to this day. Something about knowing each cup’s finished by a human makes them more exciting to see.

With the colour contrast (and sandblasting), there’s a ‘snow-capped’ effect on top of each tiny mountain. The top’s shaped so they don’t wobble when you put them down.

And, as the box is designed so the cups sit ‘upside down’, they look like perfect mini Fujis on display.

Sakura glass

Tajima’s also looked to the sakura trees to inspire some of their creations. ‘Mt. Fuji Hoei glass’ doesn’t have a mountain inside. But it does have something a bit special.

Take a good look – the glass is carefully tinted sakura pink. (Clear glass version also available.)

A wider shape at the bottom sets it apart in looks, but keeps the overall ‘mountain’ shape/theme. Pour in a beer, and the frothy top’ll look just like a snowy mountain peak.

That shape walks a fine line between ‘a deep drinking glass’ and ‘a science beaker’. We’ve never seen any other lab equipment etched with sakura petals, though.

Buying cool stuff from Japan? We’ll drink to that

DEJAPAN’s the place to order Tajima Glass and other traditional Japanese items online, with global delivery. Our extra protective packing option’s ideal with ‘Made In Japan’ glassware like this.

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