Glass production methods came to Japan around the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries via Portugal, the Netherlands, and China. It was the early eighteenth century when Edo Glass came into existence, primarily focusing on items such as ornamental hairpins and wind chimes. With the Meiji period came an influx of western culture, and sales of Western-style glass tableware peaked. Craftsmen have preserved the art of Edo glass making. The glass blower winds a bead of glass around a blowing rod and shapes it in the air as it is turned. This traditional technique of glass craftsmen, known as hand-blown glass, can be traced back to the Edo period.
These craftsmen continue to hone their skills, challenging themselves with more difficult commissions. As they improve the quality and complexity of their craft, they continue to elevate the status of Edo Glass into the territory of traditional crafts.
Recently, the name Edo Glass carries more weight, as orders from around the world increase, and glass works displaying Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji are popular. In 2013, as Japanese cuisine achieved its status on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, Edo Glass was praised for its sake glasses and their ability to enhance the sake drinking experience. These craftsmen create refined glass offering unique clarity. Now, Edo Glass exists on par with highquality European crystal brands.