Home > 36 Designated Traditional Crafts of Ishikawa Prefecture

36 Designated Traditional Crafts of Ishikawa Prefecture

Kaga Yuzen Silk Dyeing

Kaga Yuzen Silk DyeingDetail

This beautiful dyeing is characterized by the traditional colors of “Kaga Gosai”
(Kaga five colors), which are dark red, indigo, Chinese yellow, grass green and antique purple, and the naturalistic design where motifs from the nature such as the flora, plants and landscapes are commonly used.

Kaga Ushikubi Pongee

Ushikubi PongeeDetail

The Ushikubi pongee is famous for its strength. It is said that even if the textile is caught on a nail, the nail will be pulled out. Therefore, it is referred to as “Kuginuki-tsumugi” (nail pulling pongee). The thread is spun directly from twined cocoons, making the thread thick and durable yet a natural look is still maintained.

Kaga Embroidery

Kaga Embroidery Detail

The characteristic of the Kaga Embroidery is the style where the same pattern is embroidered on both the outer and inner sides of the fabric, allowing easy repair in case a thread is cut. Also the gorgeous yet delicate presentation created by the techniques such as gradation and padding embroidery are other features of the Kaga Embroidery.

Noto Linen

Noto LinenDetail

The Noto Linen has an established reputation for its correctness of weaving from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and forty crisscross “kasuri” patterns (splashed patterns) into the breadth of the linen, and it is acclaimed as the linen with the highest quality.

Kanazawa Japanese Umbrella

Kanazawa Japanese UmbrellaDetail

Some features of these umbrellas are durability resulting from the four layers of paper in the center, and two to three threads wound around the outside to strengthen the easily breakable parts. These strong and long lasting umbrellas still have their popularity today.

Kaga Paper Stencils

Kaga Paper StencilsDetail

This is a special method of cutting paper stencils used in Yuzen or in dyeing fine designs for kimono fabrics. Thin Japanese paper made from mulberry is pasted using the astringent juice of the persimmon, which is then cut using special tools to make the stencils.

Kutani Porcelain

Kutani PorcelainDetail

The essence of Kutani lies in its gloriously painted and overglazed decorations. Among them are the simple yet dynamic “Ko-Kutani style” (Old-Kutani style), the “Mokubei style” where human figures are painted in red, and the “Shoza style” famous for the motifs of flowers, birds, hills and waters painted in various colors and gold.

Wajima Urushi Lacquer Ware

Wajima Urushi Lacquer WareDetail

The characteristic of the Wajima Urushi Lacquer Ware is the durability owing to the careful craftsmen work, by repeatedly coating layers of lacquer containing “Jinoko” (local earth which is a type of diatomite). The Wajima Urushi Lacquer Ware is a beautiful and practical product, and its beauty is enhanced as it is used.

Yamanaka Urushi Lacquer Ware

Yamanaka Urushi Lacquer WareDetail

The woodturning carving technique is the characteristic of the Yamanaka Urushi Lacquer Ware. The decorative woodturning technique where grooves are carved in the wooden surface is the forte of Urushi lacquer ware. This ware has an established reputation for its production of tea utensils where the gorgeously raised Urushi lacquer work is also applied.

Kanazawa Urushi Lacquer Ware

Kanazawa Urushi Lacquer WareDetail

Kanazawa Urushi Lacquer Ware is appreciated as a piece of art rather than a mass-produced product. Main products include furnishings and tea utensils. It is famous for its durable Urushi lacquer coating as well as the high quality and delicate gold Urushi lacquer decorations which include the raised Urushi lacquer work and clouded/scraped gold Urushi lacquer.

Suzu Pottery

Suzu Pottery

The Suzu Pottery, an unglazed ceramic, was once disappeared completely, and the current Suzu Pottery was revived in 1976. Although the pottery is unglazed, the soil in Suzu region is rich in iron, therefore when it is fired at 1200℃, the ashes of the firewood melt and turn into a natural glaze, creating the charcoal gray color of the Suzu Pottery.

Kanazawa Ohi Ware

Kanazawa Ohi WareDetail

Ohi Ware has a deep relation with the tea ceremony. Although most of the items produced are tea utensils, tea bowls, pitchers, flower vases, tableware are being manufactured as well. Individual pieces are hand-made, and the simple yet warm touch of the reddish yellow glaze matches the scenery in the snowy regions.

Kanazawa Tea Ceremony Kettle

Kanazawa Tea Ceremony KettleDetail

The tea ceremony kettle is made of iron from old kettles and other everyday items. Cast iron is poured into the space between the inner and outer molds to form the design (shape), and then iron oxide is used to color the outer surface. This is a craftwork that has been preserved in Kanazawa region due to the flourishing of the tea ceremonies.

Kanazawa Gold Leaf

Kanazawa Gold LeafDetail

Kanazawa gold leaf is pounded evenly to a thickness of 0.0004 mm without losing its brightness. A piece of gold in the size of a Japanese 10 yen coin is pounded evenly into the size of a tatami mat (approx. 90 cm x 180 cm) and over 98% of all Japanese gold leaves are from the Kanazawa region.

Ishikawa's Washi Paper

Ishikawa's Washi Paper

Under the patronage of the lords of Kaga, high-quality papers used for official documents, such as the “Kagahosho” (thick Japanese paper), “Sugihara-paper,” and “Koudan-paper” were made in Futamata of Kanazawa region. Others like “Ganpi-paper” from Kawakita region and “Gasen-paper” from Wajima region can also be found here in Ishikawa prefecture.

Kanazawa Paulownia Ware

Kanazawa Paulownia Ware

Crafts with brilliant lacquer work designs harmonizing with the beauty of the grains of wood are very scarce nationwide. Taking advantage of the features of the paulownia, humid and fire resistant firepots, flower vases, ash trays and confectionery dishes are created.

Kaga Cypress Wickerwork

Kaga Cypress Wickerwork

Due to the lightness, breathability and durability of the cypress wickerwork, it was first made into hats for work in the forests and farms. Nowadays, ceiling decorations, baskets and flower baskets are also made and are being appreciated as simple folk art pieces.

Kaga Inlay

Kaga InlayDetail

Inlaying is the process of decoration by carving a design into the base metal and then inlaying the groove with gold, silver or other metals. The unique feature of Kaga inlay lies in the “Hira-zogan” technique, where the inner part of the groove is carved in a trapezoid like shape to prevent the inlaid metal from falling out.

Kanazawa Scroll Mounts

Kanazawa Scroll MountsDetail

A simple, refined finish is one of the distinguishing features of the Kanazawa region scroll mounts. Production techniques as well as restoration techniques have advanced, and today the restoration of cultural assets is being actively carried out.

Ishikawa's Bamboo Wickerwork

Bamboo WickerworkDetail

The bamboo wickerwork has developed in association with the tea ceremony and flower arrangement. Although many household utensils were made, today, due to the increase of industrial products, only flower baskets and other equipments for the tea ceremony are made by the highly sophisticated pattern weaving technique.

Kaga Tsurugi Edged Steel

Kaga Tsurugi Edged SteelDetail

Just as the town’s name “Tsurugi” (now Hakusan city) meaning sword, cutlery smithing has flourished in Tsurugi for many years. Items produced include agricultural and forestry tools and household utensils. Today very unique hoes, sickles and hatchets are made upon order.

Kanazawa Buddhist Altar

Kanazawa Buddhist AltarDetail

The charm point of the Kanazawa Buddhist Altar is the beauty of the elegant gold Urushi lacquer. The gold thread embroidery applied on the silk screen of the inner door, shells and ivory inlaid in the lacquer are all characteristics of the Kanazawa Buddhist Altar.

Nanao Buddhist Altar

Nanao Buddhist AltarDetail

The characteristic of the Nanao Buddhist Altar is its incomparably solid structure. Since it was mainly constructed for the rural farmers of Noto Peninsular region, large doors which can be folded in several times (like an accordion) are created. Also, to facilitate disassembly for transportation, the “mortise technique” was developed.

Mikawa Buddhist Altar

Mikawa Buddhist AltarDetail

These altars require the application of numerous Urushi lacquering, gold inlay and embroidery techniques. Among them is the “Tsuikoku” technique where a three-demensional pattern is cut out from the layers and layers of Urushi lacquers.

Nanao Japanese Candles

Nanao Japanese Candles

The wick of a candle is extremely important to create the stable and beautiful flame. The pith of rush is wrapped around the Japanese paper, and then cotton is applied using special glue. The thick wick made in this manner creates a natural and beautiful flame.

Kaga's Decorative Fishing Flies Bait

Kaga Decorative Fishing Flies Bait

The feathers of various wild birds are used for the lure. Gold leaf and Urushi lacquer are used at the joint of the lure, making it beautiful and elegant. Furthermore, the lure is wrapped around by extra-fine threads, which makes it extremely durable. Nowadays, these kinds of techniques are used to make accessories and products that fit the modern daily lives.

Kaga Fishing Rod

Kaga Fishing RodDetail

Durability in all weather conditions, sturdiness and being lightweight are all required in a fishing rod. The Kaga Fishing Rod is able to obtain such characteristics by heating the young bamboo at high temperature to make it tough; then it is further strengthened with coatings of Urushi lacquer.

Kanazawa Traditional Local Toys

Kanazawa Traditional Local ToysDetail

Local toys were originally made for children; however, some are used to bring good luck, or as presents for birthdays or for a sick person. Miniature lion dance masks, rice-cake pounding rabbits and rice-eating mouse are just some examples of popular local toys.

Kanazawa Koto (Japanese Zither)

Kanazawa Koto (Japanese Zither)Detail

The learning of the 13-string koto was once a traditional custom for young daughters in the samurai families. The features of the Kanazawa Koto include the generous amount of elegant Urushi lacquer decoration and pearl-applying work techniques. The koto is regarded not only as an instrument but also as a piece of art and decoration.

Kanazawa Sangen (Three String Instrument)

Kanazawa Sangen (Three String Instrument)Detail

Also known as the Shamisen, it is an essential instrument for the traditional Japanese music, folk songs and nagauta music. The art of its playing is maintained in Kanazawa region where traditional entertainment is still flourished in this city.

Kaga Taiko (Drums)

Kaga Taiko (Drums)Detail

The Taiko made in Ishikawa prefecture is known nationwide for its beautiful sound. The making of the drum is a consistent operation. Starting from drying the tree (zelkova and others), the skin used for the head of the drum is then tanned. This is how a drum with high durability and unique sound is created.

Kanazawa Bronze Gong

Kanazawa Bronze GongDetail

Sahari, a material used to create gongs, is an alloy of bronze and tin. The alloy is poured into the mold and hammered; then lacquer is applied and is fired. The rich and lingering yet soft sound is greatly appreciated at tea ceremonies.

Kaga Lion Dance Mask

Kaga Lion Dance MaskDetail

The lion dance mask is said to have developed from the lion dance to celebrate the first lord of Kaga Domain, Toshiie Maeda’s entering into Kanazawa region. The lion dance masks, produced by the local craftsmen, were placed in each town as guardians.

Kaga Lantern

Kaga LanternDetail

The feature of Kaga Lantern is that the bamboo ribs inside are individual separate rings, allowing it to stretch under pressure. Unlike lanterns with the spiral frames, even if a rib broke, the Kaga lantern would not fall apart, making these lanterns highly durable. Today, lanterns are made for city festivals and decorations.

Kaga Mizuhiki (Paper Wire)

Kaga Mizuhiki (Paper Wire)Detail

“Mizuhiki” has been used as decorations mainly in celebrations. Brightly colored or gilded, these strands of starched paper are woven into various shapes. Today, not only wedding ornaments but dolls are also made.

Noto Fireworks

Noto FireworksDetail

The Noto rocket fireworks consist of four parts: the “star” (balls of gunpowder with colors), gunpowder to break the outer shell, the outer shell, and blasting fuse. The “star” determines the sound, the color of the light and how it explodes into the sky.