The Kyoto Handicraft Center sounds like another visit-and-forget attraction. Well, it's NOT. Not only do you get to participate in hands-on activities, you will also be able to bring home a piece of memory of your time there.
Upon entering the museum, you will be greeted by the staff at the information desk. The first floor of the building is more of like a shop. They display a wide range of locally made crafts (most of which are for sale) like pearl necklaces, Japanese fans and samurai swords. Yes, you can buy your authentic Japanese samurai swords here and get it shipped back to your country! Photography is only allowed in certain parts of the first floor, do check with the staff or look out for the signs. Grab a map from the information counter so you know exactly where to get you mochi sweets and washi papers!
Personally, I think the best part of this handicraft center which makes it stand out from the rest is the workshops available for both locals and tourists. For a small price, you can create your own masterpieces and take them back home with you. They have many types of craft workshops available. From Japanese fan painting to woodblock printing to spinning top koma, every craft lovers will be able to find a workshop suitable for them. You do not need to have any experience with art to join one of these workshops. The friendly English speaking staff will help you if you need it.
The workshops are generally 40-70 minutes long depending on which craft you choose. They are held at specific times (10:30am, 2:30pm and 4pm) and you need to book at least a day in advance. With that said, they do still accept last minute sign-ups if there are places available. You can check with them through the contact form here : (http://www.kyotohandicraftcenter.com/contact/)
The workshops are located on the 7th floor of the south building and the facility for this is great compared to normal community based workshop and classes. They welcome you to take your time with your artwork (restrooms are available too). You will not need to bring anything along, all material will be provided. Colorful samples decorate the walls and ceilings of the room. Plenty of inspiration there!