Okinawa Tourism Information:BlowingLifeBackIntoDiscardedGlass♪BeautifulandHeartwarmingGlassItems

Blowing Life Back Into Discarded Glass♪ Beautiful and Heartwarming Glass Items

post : 2020.01.25 07:00

Located in an area in Kitanakagusuku Village where former US military homes that have been renovated into stylish cafes line the streets, is Glass Studio Buntaroh, a glass workshop and gallery operated by glass artist, Bunta Tsubouchi. Here, he makes and sells mainly small vases for single flowers, paper weights, chopstick rests, ring holders and other small glass pieces.

“The pieces I make are not necessarily ‘things that you can’t live without’, but I make them with hopes that more and more people will invite glass into their lives,” Tsubouchi-san says. As I looked at his pieces, and occasionally reaching out for them to hold in my hands, I felt a distinctive feeling from them. It was heartwarming, like nourishment for my soul…I felt that they could be great tools for people to bring some sort of change to their every day lives.

He studied civil engineering at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, but he felt that he wanted to make something to make individual people happy, and also to give something back to Okinawa, an island that taught allowed him to realize many things. With those intentions, Tsubouchi-san set on his journey into the world of glasswork. He studied for two years at an art college in Akita Prefecture and after graduating, he returned to Okinawa and apprenticed for four years at Umikaze Studio in Yomitan Village. Then, at age 29, he was asked to join a friend to start a glass studio in the Republic of Palau. He spent a year there, teaching the local people in making glasswork from recycling used glass.

“Recently, I’ve been focusing more on the act itself in recycling glass, rather than recycling glass as a resource, and am pursuing ways to contribute something to that aspect. I was influenced through my experience in Palau, where I helped to produce fuel from recycled materials, and used that fuel to produce glass items through the raw glass materials recycled from discarded glass bottles. Through this series of work that I was involved in, it led to the education of the local people who didn’t know about recycling, and that can bring great changes in a country.”

As part of his focus on the action of recycling glass, you can bring your favorite glass bottle with you and order a special, order-made item made from that glass. For instance, if you happen to have a sake bottle that you are fond of or have great memories attached to it, you can bring it in and request to have it turned into a glass or a sake cup. By using a bottle that was just sitting there without being used, you can you can have it recreated into something else like a glass or cup and feel the joy in using it each time.


Tsubouchi-san started Glass Studio Buntaroh after returning from Palau. In his gallery are various glass items he created from recycled glass.
There are ring holders, one-flower vases, paper weights and other items that look even more beautiful when the sunlight reflects on their surfaces.
Glass items have that distinctive air of refinement and they’re lovely to place in any room as decorations.

Glass Studio Buntaroh
Address: 1022 Adaniya, Kitanakagusuku Village, Nakagami, Okinawa
Hours: 12:00 to 18:00 

Merchandise Also Available at:
Dear Okinawa,
Address: 2F Connecting Terminal at Naha Airport, 150 Kagamizu, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 7:00 to 20:30

Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi


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