Hello! It’s Tomocchi ☆
Have you ever heard of “Nagasaki Bidoro” (長崎ビードロ) ? The word comes from the Portuguese word for “glass” (vidro). Nagasaki flourished under trade with Portugal and so naturally this is the origin of glass works in Japan.
Here at Rurian Glass Studios, travelers can make their own piece of Nagasaki glass in 15 to 20 minutes while they’re out sightseeing. It’s located near Glover Garden and Oura Catholic Church which are major tourism destinations, and is just a short walk from Matsugae Terminal where international cruise ships make port.
This time I tried my hand at Nagasaki traditional blown glass. I actually got to work with molten glass and make my very own, one-of-a-kind piece of glassware ♪
The workshop has two kilns, each one able to accommodate up to 8 guests.
First, we put on the provided aprons and arm covers. Then, we watch a demonstration and decide the shape and color of the glass we are going to make.
We take the molten glass out of the kiln with the blowing rod,
…then add colored powder glass to it then stick it back in the kiln. You have to be quick to get it on there while it’s still hot.
We take the molten glass out of the kiln, blow into the rod and expand the glass into the shape we want. I was told that the trick is to blow slowly at first so the glass cools and hardens a bit, and only after that to blow really hard. “It blew up like a balloon!”
To make the shape we want we roll the glass on the end of the rod on wet newspaper. (I was worried that it would be hot, but I didn’t really feel any heat)
You can roll on all the glass strings you want to make a pattern. You spin the rod and molten glass will wrap around your glass.
Finishing requires opening a hole at the end. With you right hand you insert tweezers into the unopened glass. Then spinning the rod with your left hand, you slowly make an opening. It’s difficult to get the opening exactly even, but the feeling of flexible glass is so interesting!!
After you make your final adjustments to the shape, you stick it in the cooler.
The glass needs to cool down to be completely finished. You can come back the next day after 3pm to pick up your completed product.
If you are unable to come back to pick it up, you can have them send it to you (separate charges apply).
Here is my one-of-a-kind glass!
It’s blue like Nagasaki’s ocean with a few bubbles for effect. Cool, right?
I originally thought that doing blown glass would be difficult and hot, but the veteran staff there were extremely helpful and polite so that even someone as uncoordinated as myself was able to have fun and safe time ☆ I wonder what I’ll drink out of this glass…
Come and try Nagasaki glass blowing for yourself!
Glass Blowing Experience
Price: 3,240 yen (tax included)
*Having your work sent to you through the mail includes applicable fees.
Timeframe: around 15 to 20 minutes
Minimum number of participants: 1
Age restrictions: participants must be at least 5th grade elementary school age
Completed products will be available for pick-up the following day at 3pm. Since they are closed on Tuesdays, anything made on Monday will be picked up on Wednesday.
* You can also do stained glass, kaleidoscopes, and fusing here as experiences.
Rurian Glass Studios
5-11 Matsugae-machi, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture, 850-0921
Hours: 9am to 6pm (closed Tuesdays)
Access: From Nagasaki Station take the tram (take the tram bound for Shoukaku-ji Shita, change trams at tsuki-machi, then take the tram bound for Ishibashi and get off at the Oura Catholic Church stop. It’s a 3-minute walk from there).