Negoro-nuri style lacquerware



Lacquerware originating from Negoro Temple in Wakayama Prefecture is called negoro-nuri. Continue reading Negoro-nuri style lacquerware

Murakami Tsuishu urushi lacquerware


Murakami Tsuishu urushi lacquerware is a traditional handicraft in which wood-carved reliefs are finished with many layers of thickly coated red lacquer.  The craft began in the Edo period and continues today. Formidable skill is required to produce the elaborate carving and beautiful vermillion color tones.


It is said that about 600 years ago lacquerware came to Murakami from temple building in Kyoto. Successive lords encouraged the craft and lacquer tree cultivation increased. 270 years ago Murakami samurai Jirou Hyodo spread wood carving and plantings of black sedge within the clan and significant progress ensued. Murakami wood carving was designated a “Niigata prefectural cultural property” in February 1953, and in February 1959, a “national traditional craft”.

The tray below, discovered at a temple market in Osaka,  is a lovely example of the craft.  It measures about 27 cm in diameter and is 2 cm high at the outer edge.



If you would like to see how Murakami Tsuishu urushi lacquerware is made, take a look at this interesting YouTube video

Please visit my Etsy store to see my collection of vintage and antique Japanese treasures.



Hashi-oki chopstick pillows: Genji-mon crest


I bought this pair of pretty hashi-oki chopstick pillows at a temple market held at Gokokujinja in Rokko, Kobe city on the 4th Sunday of each month.  The temple grounds are a lovely setting for a market and the roving musicians add a delightful carnival atmosphere. Continue reading Hashi-oki chopstick pillows: Genji-mon crest

Fuchin scroll weights – Aochibu style Kutani-yaki porcelain

A traditional Japanese room often has a hanging scroll (kakemono) displayed in the alcove (tokonoma).  Fuchin, small tasseled weights, are sometimes hung  from the bottom roller ends of the scroll. Besides being decorative, fuchin help to take out any creases in the scroll and prevent it from blowing around in a breeze.  They are typically made of ceramic or stone such as onyx.  They are quite lovely and I often come across them at the markets.

Ceramic fuchin scroll weights

Continue reading Fuchin scroll weights – Aochibu style Kutani-yaki porcelain

Peeled Cherry Bark Wares: sakura-kawa-zaiku

Cherry bark work (sakura-kawa-zaiku) is a handicraft from Akita prefecture in the north- eastern part of Honshu, the main island of Japan. It uses peeled cherry bark from mountain cherry trees (yamazakura) to make items such as small plates, tea caddies or letter cases.

Cherry Bark letter case lid
Cherry Bark letter case lid

Continue reading Peeled Cherry Bark Wares: sakura-kawa-zaiku

Chawan tea cup

I came across this whimsical modern chawan  at the market and thought it would make a fun addition to my collection of tea cups.  I was attracted by the bright fresh colors and the unusual design of rats gnawing a large white daikon radish.

Daikon -ku Chawan
Daikon -ku Chawan

Continue reading Chawan tea cup

Nambu cast iron ware, Morioka

Morioka city, Kitakami river
Morioka city, Kitakami river

 I  spent a few days participating in the Japan Writers conference and basking in the glorious autumn sunshine and open blue sky in the charming old castle town of Morioka, Iwate prefecture.  (October, 2014). Continue reading Nambu cast iron ware, Morioka