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Glass Beads

Tombo-dama are traditional Japanese glass beads with a hole in the center, characterized by their brightly-colored patterns. When glassmaking first came to Japan from abroad in the Edo Period, tombo-dama were produced in great quantity in Nagasaki, and production expanded to Edo (old Tokyo) as well. Later, tombo-dama were used to embellish traditional hair picks and ornamental obi clips until their use was forbidden by the Edo shogunate, who deemed them an extravagance. The tombo-dama beadmaking technique was lost for a time until it experienced a revival in the Meiji Period.

Tombo-Dama Craftsman

Ryo Ono

1975 Born in Tokyo
1995 Began creating tombo-dama
1997 Began professional craft
2008 Established Studio Rakuu

Work featured in many solo and group exhibitions centered in the Tokyo area.
Special lecturer of art at Cartias Academy.




Tombo-Dama glass beads are made by melting a variety of colored glass with a gas burner while winding it to form patterns. The slightest variance in temperature results in a change in color and pattern, so no two beads come out the same. The allure of the beads created by tombo-dama craftsman Ryo Ono can be found in the fantastical world of delicate hues and ornate patterns made by layer upon layer of glass. Ono strives to fully take in what he has seen and experienced, and distill those feelings and impressions into his work.
Ono first encountered tombo-dama as a child when he saw his parents purchasing some at an antique shop while on a family vacation in Nara. He says he still remembers being mesmerized by the sight. He resolved to make a career of it at the age of twenty, when, wanting different accessories than those worn by his friends, he made his own tombo-dama. He began teaching himself how to make the beads, and five years later had accomplished enough to be able to hold an exhibition of his work. “Tombo-dama came into my life because there was a boom in its popularity about thirty years ago and the number of artisans grew. I consider it my mission to keep the tradition alive, no matter what,” Ono says. He is dedicated to spreading the craft by developing new, modern designs and conducting tombo-dama beadmaking workshops.

Glass Studio Rakuu


/ Shop Information :

Adress:2-16-5, Higashi-Mukoujima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

(During hours of operation)

Hours of Operation:10:00~19:00
(Until 21:00 on workshop days)

Closed : Varies
(Please inquire by telephone prior to visiting)

/ Website: