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Traditionally Crafted Sake Cups

This is a video created by "Okeya Kondo Official桶屋近藤【公式】," that introduces craftsmen at Okeya Kondo making Yoshino cedar sake cups; a traditional craft in Kyoto.
Okeya Kondo in Kyoto Shino, introduced in this video, is a studio that makes traditional Japanese crafts such as Kyo-Oke and Kyo Sashimono.

Traditional crafts made with high quality domestically produced materials such as Yoshino cedar, are works of art.
The Yoshino cedar teacups, which are made with the skills of artisans, are sure to make your favorite drinks even tastier.
The 7-minute video shows the process of craftsmen making Yoshino cedar cups.
Keep your eyes on the artisan's dexterous hands. His amazing skills will blow you away.
This footage isn't something you can see every day, so we hope you enjoy it!

Japan's Long Sake Culture

Image of Sake
Photo:Sake

In Japan, there is a traditional culture of drinking delicious sake, made from pure rice as a raw material, since the old days.
Among the various types of sake, unfiltered Junmaigenshu sake, which is characterized by its rich taste, is particularly popular.
Sake is provided in a special container called a "Tokuri," and it is common to drink it using cups and cup-shaped dishes called "yokocho."

In some cases, sake is put into a barrel-shaped sake jar or a portable sake barrel.
Traditional craftsmen in Japan have a long history of making beautiful crafts, such as barrels and sake cups, using their advanced crafting skills.

Okeya Kondo's Traditional Sake Cups

The 6.46 cm thick Yoshino cedar teacups are produced using beautiful wood grain with the finest texture, and is shaped by the masterful handiwork of Kyoto's craftsmen. The beauty and feel of this product is second to none.
Yoshino cedar, which is used as a material for traditional crafts such as Okeya Kondo's Yoshino cedar sake cups, are collected around Yoshino-cho, Nara Prefecture, which is famous for cherry blossom viewing.

Yoshino cedar cups made using the finest ingredients makes sake more fragrant and tasteful.

How to Make Traditional Yoshino Cedar Cups

At Okeya Kondo, a workshop for making kettles, sake cups are made by combining several pieces of wood like a large tub and fastening them with a metal hoop.
First of all, Yoshino cedar, the raw material used to make these, is cut out, sized appropriately using special tools, and neatly arranged with a plane (a special woodworking tool).
You can see this from 0:03 in the video.

Next, as you can see from 2:27, they make a wooden frame by arranging the cut pieces of wood in round molds.
When the shape is completed, they remove the mold and adjust the shape with a saw or plane.
You can see this at 3:41 in the video.
From 4:31 in the video, you will start making the bottom part of the Yoshino cedar cup.
Once the bottom is in place, the ornaments are installed and any finishing touches are added.
The final process is branding the bottom with "Okeya Kondo."
This can be seen at 6:06 in the video.

At the Okeya Kondo, the owner, Taiichi Kondo, creates all of his pieces by himself.
Although it is not possible to mass produce them, the Yoshino cedar sake cup is a high quality item that can be used for a long time, as each cup is made by hand with the utmost care.

These products can be purchased at Kyoto antenna shop Marutakei in Aichi, or through online retailers such as Rakuten, Amazon, and more.
It might be a small cup, but they're gonna run you at least 10,000 yen (~$100 USD). And while that might be a bit pricey, the quality of these cups is second to none, and we're sure you won't regret your purchase.

Summary of Okeya Kondo's Yoshino Cedar Cups

Okeya Kondo in Kyoto Shino, introduced in the video, is a studio that continues to make beautiful traditional crafts with a high standard of quality.
Please watch this video to enjoy Taiichi Kondo's amazing craftsmanship.

The high quality Yoshino cedar cups made by Japanese artisans using traditional techniques, will make your exquisite sake even tastier.

Written By
Jun. 16, 2021
Japan
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
Okeya Kondo's Yoshino Cedar Sake Cups: Made in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture With Domestic Materials Sure to Make Your Sake Taste Better. A Must-Have for Those Who Enjoy Sake!
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