Founded in 1899, we are the oldest glassmaker in Tokyo.
The manufacture of glass tableware in Japan goes back to the Edo period (1603-1867). During the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Japanese government established and operated the Shinagawa Glass Factory. After that, glass factories opened one after another in downtown Tokyo. Hirota Glass was among the earliest. Glassmaking in Tokyo flourished and fused traditional European techniques with the soul of Japanese aesthetics.
After World War II, mass production by mechanization became the mainstream for glassmaking. However, Hirota Glass produces only handcrafted glassware, keeping the generational company creed, “We want to make products possessing warmth and appeal to people’s sensibility.” Hirota artisans inherit traditional handicraft techniques such as Edo Kiriko, finely cut glass, and Edo Glass, the local Tokyo style. Based on rare glassworks, designs, and materials handed down since the establishment of the company, we create products which harmonize with both the experience of eating and the atmosphere of the modern home.
Our founder Kinta Hirota was born in Tsubame City, Niigata prefecture. He moved to Tokyo and apprenticed at the wholesale lamp store Kanda Takakuwa Shoten. After opening Hirota Glass Shop in Shiba-tamachi, Tokyo in 1899, he established the Koto Glass Factory in Honjo-Yokokawa, Tokyo, to manufacture glass tableware, containers, and lampshades. This enabled Hirota Glass to advance artisanal glassmaking for generations.
While our skilled craftsmen still create glass tableware, our company is also reproducing traditional glassware for drinking. To hand down the once-forgotten craftsmanship and skills to the next generation – we believe that is a mission only we, Hirota Glass, working solely with glass for over 100 years, can achieve.
Our Taisho Roman Series is one example. They are reproductions of glassware once called “Japanese shaved ice” with opalescent-colored patterns, widely made from the Taisho (1912-1926) to the Showa (1926-1989) period. The glass is molded using a technique called the Bone Ash Aburidashi Technique and we are the only ones still doing it. It is a type of Wa (Japanese) glass with traditional patterns, featured in “The Mark of Beauty,” an art program on NHK, the national Japanese broadcasting network.
We at Hirota Glass will continue to produce glassware with universal appeal, nourished by the rich sensibility of the Japanese people, interwoven with Japan’s four seasons.