In Kanazawa, a city famous for traditional crafts and Japanese sweets, there are many items you'll want to take home as souvenirs. Here are five souvenirs you must pick up and see when you are in Kanazawa.
1. Gold Leaf Products
Kanazawa gold leaf, which accounts for more than 99% of all gold leaf produced in Japan, does not oxidize, tarnish, or rot, and thanks to these characteristics, is used widely on arts and crafts such as lacquerware, gold screens, and shrines, as well as in building interiors. In Kanazawa, there are many products that use gold leaf, such as jewelry, sake, food, and miscellaneous small items. Gold leaf cosmetics made with plenty of gold leaf are highly recommended because gold leaf can improve the skin in a variety of ways, such as boosting metabolism, firmness, and natural healing powers. The glittery gold leaf also make the cosmetic products a pretty addition to your dresser.
The image is of two popular products by the Kanazawa gold leaf specialty store, Hakuichi: Kinka Gold Nano Cleansing & Foam N (3,780 JPY (incl. tax)) and Kinka Gold Nano Lotion N (3,780 JPY (incl. tax)).
Mizuhiki is a decorative cord that is used for traditional Japanese gift wrapping. "Kaga mizuhiki" is a technique for beautifully wrapping gifts by folding Japanese washi paper in a three-dimensional manner, and tying three-dimensional mizuhiki of such auspicious motifs as cranes and turtles, or of pine, bamboo, and plum branches, and is designated a rare traditional craft by the prefecture of Ishikawa. Tsudamizuhiki, which has continued the tradition begun by Sokichi Tsuda, the father of Kaga mizuhiki, sells not only traditional mizhikizaiku crafts, but also gift envelopes and jewelry with modern designs. Just seeing all the brightly colored mizuhikizaiku craft items on display will make you a little giddy. Mizuhikizaiku craft items are perfect souvenirs that are light and easy to carry.
Mizuhiki brooch (3,888 JPY (incl. tax))
3. Kanazawa Shikki
Kanazawa shikki lacquerware, a representative traditional craft of Kanazawa, was born as a craft loved by daimyo lords and developed under the protection of generations of lords of the Kaga domain. Kanazawa shikki are characterized by the beautiful decorations of gold and silver relief and mother-of-pearl inlays, and a sturdiness that comes from the meticulous handcrafting process. As each item is made by hand by craftsmen, it's time-consuming to make and tends to be costly, but a simple bowl or cup for everyday use can be purchased for about 2,500 JPY.
Image provided by: Kanazawa City
4. Mameya Kanazawa Bankyu Beans
Mameya Kanazawa Bankyu is a shop for Japanese and Western-style sweets made using rare beans grown in Ishikawa such as organic soybeans from Kanazawa and Dianagon azuki and kuromame soybeans beans from Noto. A steady best-seller at Bankyu is the roasted organic soybeans. The simple yet refined flavors that harness the bean's natural sweetness are superb. They also come in a welcome variety of flavors from sweet to salty. The Kohakumame (864 JPY (incl. tax)) set using salt from Noto and plum flavor is particularly popular. The bean-shaped container that is hand-painted individually by Kutani ceramic craftsmen is so adorable you'll want to keep it after finishing the beans! The beans are sure to be a hit present for friends and family.
5. Maruhachi Seichajo Kaga Boucha
There are a lot of different types of Japanese tea, but tea in Kanazawa generally means hojicha (roasted tea), or boucha made by roasting the stems in particular. The tea maker, Maruhachi Seichajo, has been dedicated to making safe, tasty Japanese tea with no gimmicks since 1863. It's signature product, Kenjo Kagaboucha (1,296 JPY for 100g (incl. tax)), uses high quality stems from Kagoshima that are lightly roasted without burning the surface, and is characterized by a smoky fragrance and smooth finish. We highly recommend trying this tea, which was presented to the Showa Emperor when he visited Ishikawa in 1983.
In Kanazawa, a town of traditional crafts, you'll find many outstanding craft works that have been modernized as well as traditional ones. Please find your favorite.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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