Archive for Fukaura

Make your own glass seal in Fukaura Town

Posted in Fukaura-town with tags , , , on August 8, 2011 by Yuko

Fukaura-Town, located in the southwest area of Aomori is well known with Lake Juniko.  If you are heading for Fukaura Town either by car or train, WeSPA Tsubakiyama would be a convenient place to visit and stay on the way to Lake Juniko. It is the resort facility consists of a gift shop, hot spring, insect exhibition, cable car, cottage accommodation and glass studio which allows you to enjoy your holiday with your family and friends. I am introducing one of the very popular hands-on activities in this facility, making glass seals in this post.

This studio ”HOO” is a rare glass studio in the world, equipped with glass melting furnace using wind electricity.

Can you guess what these colorful glass objects are? They all become seals by engraving the bottom surface. You can pick out your favorite one. I was indecisive and took 10 minutes to decide my seal….


 I could finally pick this out… a bird-shaped one! Don’t you think this is already cute enogh as an ornament?

 After tracing the outline of the bottom of the seal on the paper, you can draw whatever you want as far as drawing within the outline.
This is me deeply absorbed in my work and didn’t know my colleague was taking a picture of me.

The instructor scanned my design into the computer, and reversed the design(because it is a seal) and made a sticker with my design. It was so quick and I couldn’t help being impressed with the computer technology which makes everything so easy.

After attaching the sticker at the bottom of your workpiece, you have to cut out the sticker of the area need to be engraved. Since the sticker has a cut along the line of your design, it would not be too difficult even for little kids.

We moved to the another room equipped with the “Sand Blaster”, the device carving glass with fine sands.

You can turn the blast on and off by using a foot pedal. You have to hold the workpiece tight and put it under the sand blasting nozzle. I wondered how the thin sticker could prevent the glass from abrasion. But it was working pretty well.
It took me about 10 minutes to complete engraving.

Ta-dah! “夕子” is my name Yuko in Kanji, with my Chinese zodiac sign “boar” on top.  


My colleague made the seal of Ikubee – the mascot of Aomori destination campaign( held between April – July in 2011).

I could see the other visitors’ great works in the seal work collection book. 

 The gallery & shop in the building displays the distinctive art glasses. I loved the glass tumblers putting on bikini panties, but 8,400yen/pc is not quite affordable to me…too bad.

I heard that a family from outside of Aomori stayed in WeSpa Tsubakiyama became a big fan of this place, and started to come back every summer to enjoy making new glass arts in this studio. It will be a good gift or a souvenir to yourself for the memory of your trip to Fukaura Town/Aomori. Of course various hands-on glass activities including glass-blowing and jewels are available.

Why don’t you visit WeSpa Tsubakiyama to make a masterpiece this summer? 

Shirakami Glass Studio “HOO”

226-1 Nabeishi, Henashi, Fukaura-machi
TEL: 0173-75-2261
Hands-on Glass Seal Fee: 2,310 yen / piece
Open Hours:9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Closed: Tsuesdays (November – March) Open 365 days (April – October)  


Breathtaking Beauty of Lake Juniko, Fukaura-Town

Posted in Fukaura-town with tags , , , , on August 1, 2010 by Yuko

Some people who visited this blog asked me if the current header image was taken in Aomori-prefecture.  The answer is “YES”, and I am excited to share the beautiful images of Lake Juniko with you this time!

Juniko is literally 12 lakes, collective term of 33 small and large ponds created by the big earthquake about 300 years ago.

If you want to tour all 33 ponds, it will take all day long and you would need a car.  However, visiting major ponds and forest area along the hiking trail will take just about 1 hour.  The following are pics I took in 1-hour-tour. 

My starting point was “Kyororo”, a gift shop near the major ponds. 

 This is the map of Juniko, and my 1-hour-tour course is marked bold on the upper right side.


Walking in the forest of Katsura, beech and oak is so refreshing. You hear nothing but your footsteps and birds chirping…..


This is “Aoike” pond, known with its mystic crystal blue.The color of Aoike pond easily change by the weather and season.  When I viewed this pond, the sunlight brightened the pond and the color was like opals.

This transparent blue pond shows us all things under the water. I could see some small fish swimming in there.

The air was clean and the fresh woody smell was relaxing.  I heard there were some uncommon birds like Ruddy Kingfisher you might be able to see, so I tried to find them carefully but couldn’t find any this time.  The women walking several footsteps behind the group is me, because I wanted to enjoy strolling slowly.

Here is my another favorite pond, “Wakitsubo” – the header image of this blog!

I didn’t edit the images, not even a bit.  These are what I simply took with my compact digital camera.  It was amazingly beautiful. I remembered about the tale of swan maiden, and thought fairies would choose this place for bathing.

After going down the long stairs, you will find a small rest area. This place serves you a Japanese small sweet  and Matcha green tea made of  “Wakitsubo” spring water. I loved it!

The lady who makes tea for you wouldn’t give you a bill.  There is a box inside of the building and you put money in it.  The money will be used to keep the spring water clean and pure, and you can decide how much you want to offer.

Recently I’ve been very busy and was worn out, but Lake Juniko definitely helped me to recharge my batteries.  Currently there is not much information about Lake Juniko in English, but if you are a nature lover,  it’s worth visiting Lake Juniko!

Lake Juniko

Closest Station: JR Juniko (Resort Shirakami train should be the best to visit)

By Car: Approx. 3 hours from Aomori-City 

Pay Parking Available