Welcome! VISIT NagasakiWelcome! VISIT Nagasaki

What to Buy

Glasswork

Glasswork

Featuring the beautiful colors of Nagasaki glass

The glass products of Nagasaki are also known in Japanese as Nagasaki vidro (vidro is the Portuguese word for glass). When the Port of Nagasaki was opened to the world in 1570, a variety of new cultures were introduced to Nagasaki.
Nagasaki's vidro glasswork represents one craft that was adopted from Portugal. Vidro is blown glass made by attaching molten glass to the tip of a pipe and fabricating a shape in a manner similar to swelling a soap bubble. Because the glass cools and hardens rapidly, it must be processed quickly and carefully despite its high temperature. The completed vidro items display a variety of shapes and colors. Available products include Nagasaki chirori, a beautiful indigo blue sake ware, and poppen, a novelty item that produces a sound when one blows on it. These items are popular souvenirs for visitors to Nagasaki.

The Exotic Koga Ningyo Handmade Doll

The Exotic Koga Ningyo Handmade Doll

The Koga ningyo doll, along with the Fushimi ningyo doll of Kyoto and Tsutsumi ningyo doll of Sendai, is considered one of the three finest Japanese fire clay dolls. The Koga ningyo doll has ancient origins, and some believe it was made during the Genroku period in the Edo era. Several hundred such dolls existed in the old days, but today only about half remain due to breakage, weathering, and neglect from years of lack of use. This doll features bold colors and the rich expressions of animal faces; however, today one can see only familiar dolls such as a Western woman with a child, a Dutch doll with a gun, and a Chinese doll holding a chicken. These dolls are plentiful and create the exotic atmosphere of Nagasaki. Today, only one workshop is continuing the tradition of simple handmade dolls.

Nagasaki's Hata Kites Featuring Glass Threads

Hata (Kites)

Nagasaki's Hata Kites Featuring Glass Threads

Hata kite flying is an annual spring event in Nagasaki. This event takes place in March and April on Tohakkei and other mountains surrounding the city. Kites are known as hata in Nagasaki or as agobata kites. The Nagasaki hata style of kite is said to have been brought to Nagasaki by Indonesians who came to Dejima in the first half of the 17th century. Many hata kites have simple patterns reminiscent of the designs of signal flags and the flags flown by Dutch ships. They commonly use the colors of red, white, and blue and display characteristics of Nagasaki, Japan's first window on the world. Nagasaki's hata kites are also known as "fighting kites." These exquisite kites have hemp strings covered with an abrasive glass powder that is used to cut the strings of opponents through manipulation of the kites. This event has more of the atmosphere of a competitive adult activity than of a children's game.