Create Senko Hanabi at One of Japan’s Last Workshops (3hrs)
Tsutsui Tokimasa Fireworks Co. is located in Miyama, Fukuoka Prefecture. A fireworks workshop, it specializes in a type of Japanese sparkler called senko hanabi (lit. “incense fireworks”). Tsutsui Tokimasa is now one of only three workshops that still make senko hanabi in Japan. Due to the efforts and passion of the workshop’s third-generation owners, Ryota and Kyoko Tsutsui, the techniques of firework-making continue to live on. Through this program, learn directly from the craftspeople themselves about the carefully selected raw materials used by Tsutsui Tokimasa, along with the firework production process. Make your very own senko hanabi through a workshop that includes paper dyeing and gunpowder rolling. And in a unique darkroom space made specifically for fireworks testing, light senko hanabi and experience for yourself the fireworks’ sparkling beauty.
- ● Learn about the raw materials and manufacturing process of sparklers
- ● Explore how the characteristics and history of sparklers vary across regions, such as between eastern and western Japan
- ● Create your very own sparkler designs by coloring the paper used to roll gunpowder
- ● Guided by a professional craftsperson, learn the special techniques used for rolling paper sparklers
- ● Light and enjoy the fireworks you made (or senko hanabi made by Tsutsui Fireworks)
- ● Browse the showroom of Tsutsui Tokimasa Fireworks Co., where you can also purchase products
Dangerous Processes, Delicate Skills
The black gunpowder used in senko hanabi is made from three materials: pine soot, sulfur, and potassium nitrite. As the manufacturing of fireworks is an extremely delicate and dangerous process, it is done entirely by hand in a thoroughly controlled environment. The blended gunpowder is then divided into 0.08 gram portions and rolled into paper. But if the amount differs even by 1%, the spark dispersion pattern will change; every aspect of the production process is precise down to the milligram. In order to prevent the gunpowder from exploding, no electricity is allowed in the workshop — all fireworks are made under natural light with no air conditioning or heating.
Honoring Local Materials, Passing on Fireworks Culture
Tsutsui Tokimasa is committed to using quality raw materials: such as the roots of pine trees from Miyazaki Prefecture that have been rested for over 30 years to make the main ingredient of gunpowder, pine soot, or growing in-house the increasingly hard to find long rice straw that forms the core of the Subo Tebotan traditional Japanese sparkler. Fireworks culture is also slowly disappearing, especially in urban areas with restrictions on fireworks use. In response, the Tsutsui family opened an inn for enjoying fireworks called Kawanoie, a riverside accommodation in Kuroki Town, Yame City. Through efforts such as these, Tsutsui Tokimasa continues to pass on Japanese fireworks culture to future generations.
Make a One-of-a-Kind Senko Hanabi
In this program, experience the two main steps of the senko hanabi production process, dyeing and rolling. The first step is to dye paper in various designs and colors, which will later be used to wrap the gunpowder. Once the coloring is completed, it’s time to put in the gunpowder and roll the paper into sparklers. Use a special tool that accurately measures the amount of gunpowder required down to the milligram, and then wrap and carefully twist the paper around the gunpowder. This part of the production process is where craftspeoples’ skills shine, as the way in which the paper is rolled can change the way the senko hanabi’s sparks scatter once lit. Learn more about these techniques directly from expert craftspeople themselves, and make your very own original senko hanabi sparklers through this unique workshop.
Experience the Sparkling Beauty of Senko Hanabi
Tsutsui Tokimasa is equipped with a darkroom specially made for fireworks testing, and you can enjoy the senko hanabi you created through this program even during the daytime. Upon lighting the sparkler, the four stages of the senko hanabi’s burn has an ephemeral beauty that can be compared to life itself. For those who don’t want to light the senko hanabi they made in the program, Tsutsui Tokimasa has also prepared senko hanabi made by the workshop for guests to enjoy in the darkroom. A complimentary firework carrying box from Tsutsui Tokimasa also makes senko hanabi a great gift. (Please note that for those visiting from abroad, fireworks are not permitted aboard most commercial aircrafts.)
Browse the Showroom and Specialty Shop
Tsutsui Tokimasa also makes a wide variety of fireworks in addition to senko hanabi sparklers. Its showroom and store is lined with these colorfully-designed creations, an exciting sight for children and adults alike. As the showroom also exhibits the firework-making process and raw materials used in the production of senko hanabi, you can chat with Ryota and Kyoko Tsutsui while enjoying the lingering afternotes of the firework-making experience. For those who wish to do so, shopping can also be done during this time.
2021, 4/10 (Sat), starting at 13:00~
Japanese●Supplementary explanations in English via translation device or lecture board can be provided upon request. Please make a note in the message box during registration to request this service.※An English interpreter can also be arranged for an additional fee. Please contact UNA Laboratories for more details.
Minimum 5 / Maximum 8
5 days before the start of the tour
Advance payment at the time of reservation (VISA, Mastercard, Amex, JCB)
Dye paints will be used in this program, so please wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty.
|Note about Tour Conductors||
There will be no tour conductor from UNA Laboratories accompanying this program. Customers are responsible for managing their own itineraries.
3 to 1 day(s) preceding the tour start date: 50% of the tour fee
Travel Planning: Implementation
- UNA Laboratories Inc. (Fukuoka Prefectural Governor Registration #2-951)
- 3-12-22-302 Yakuin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0022
- TEL: 092-982-7956E-MAIL: email@example.com
- Domestic Certified Travel Supervisors:
Aya Tamura, Noriko Yahata, Rei Watanabe
- Business Hours:
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (Closed Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays)
- *Requests received outside of business hours will be processed the following business day.
- *Domestic Certified Travel Supervisors are responsible for transactions held at the sales office that processes customers’ travel. Please do not hesitate to contact the aforementioned Domestic Certified Travel Supervisors with any questions or concerns regarding the travel contract.
- Designated Dates13:00~ Please send us your preferred dates.
※The tour will not be held on dates marked with (-) on the reservation form.
- 3 hours
- Recommended Age
- 7,500yen (tax included)
- ※ Material fee included
※ 3,500 yen for guests under 12. Guests under 12 can accompany a parent or guardian on the studio visit (without firework making) for free.