Yaki-in branding irons

Kanazawa is well known for its wide variety of traditional hand made Japanese sweets.  Last week I visited the Kanazawa Museum of Wooden Japanese Sweets Molds located on the second floor of Morihachi Honten, a sweets store with a history dating back to 1625. There are over a thousand wooden sweets molds on display, grouped into several time periods starting from Edo and finishing with the  Showa period.

Kanazawa Wooden Sweets Molds Museum
Kanazawa Museum of Wooden Japanese Sweets Molds

The museum also includes a  wonderful display of about 200 yaki-in branding irons that were used during the past 100 years.

Display of Yaki-in branding irons at Kanazawa Sweets Museum
Yaki-in branding irons


Yaki-in have long been used by confectioners in Japan to sear letters or patterns onto rice cookies or ‘manju’ (steamed buns).  They are also used to brand a variety of other items including wood and leather.

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Designs include kanji (Chinese characters) for congratulations or long life; others depict horoscopes, family crests, names and beauties from nature such as plum blossom, momiji autumn leaves, wisteria and lotus flower. The following photos show some yaki-in that I have collected  from antique markets in Japan.

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Lotus pod
Congratulations: 'kotobuki'
Congratulations: ‘kotobuki’

They are truly works of art in their own right and worth collecting or finding your own unique way of using them.

Please visit my Etsy store to purchase vintage and antique Japanese treasures.

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'Styled in Japan': an online shop that specializes in fashionable anti-UV parasols; an Etsy shop that features a unique collection of retro, vintage and antique Japanese treasures sourced from temple and flea markets in the Kansai area.

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