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5 Cultural Experiences You Can Have in Kanazawa

Kanazawa is a region full of with traditional handicrafts and there are many nationally designated traditional crafts such as Kanazawa shikki lacquerware and Kutaniyaki pottery. There are also lots hands-on facilities of traditional crafts. Here are 5 must-have cultural experiences available in Kanazawa.

2016.11.24

1. Kinpaku Decorating Experience (Kinpaku General Museum Hakkokan)

Kanazawa, blessed with the perfect weather for foil making and good water quality, makes 99% of the kinpaku (gold leaf) in Japan. Kinpaku, as thin as approximately 1/10,000mm, has been used for decoration of various art works such as lacquerware and Buddhist altars, and has supported Kanazawa's traditional handicraft industry.
At the Kinpaku General Museum, you can create your own original crafts such as postcards, chopsticks, accessory boxes, or a tiny hand mirror, all decorated with kinpaku. You can also watch skilled artisans perform haku uchi (foil-beating) or haku utsushi (placing sheets of gold leaf between pieces of paper so gold leaf can be moved around without sticking to each other). The craftsmanship of these artisans freely handling gold leaf so delicate that it feels like it would be blown away just by a tiny breath is a must-see.

Fee: 500 JPY (incl. tax and material cost)
Time required: 10-50 min (depends on what you are making)
※Reservation required (reservation on the same day accepted), English available


Photo provided by: Kanazawa-shi


Photo provided by: Kanazawa-shi

*Photo is for illustration purposes.

1. Kinpaku Decorating Experience (Kinpaku General Museum Hakkokan)

2. Mizuhiki Saiku Experience (Tsuda Mizuhiki Orikata)

Mizuhiki refers to a paper string to tie presents such as yuino-hin (betrothal gifts exchanged between two families on engagement) and special envelopes for wedding money, and has a deep connection with a culture unique to Japan from ancient times. Kaga mizuhiki, designated as a rare traditional craft of Ishikawa, is handmade and known for its delicate, beautiful, and three-dimensional forms. At Tsuda Mizuhiki Orikata, established by Soukichi Tsuda, the originator of Kaga mizuhiki, you can learn how to tie it, which is the basic crafts of mizuhiki. You can also create a kinpu (envelope for monetary gifts), a chopstick case, or a smartphone charm depending on the purpose or your wish. A mizuhiki kit with a manual (1,143 JPY (excl. tax)) is also available at the store which is great to take back as a gift for your family or friends and to teach them how to make mizuhiki.

Fee: starting at 1,000 JPY
Time required: 30-60 min (depending on the product)
※Reservation one week in advance required


aduchinootonosama/123RF


*Photo is for illustration purposes.

2. Mizuhiki Saiku Experience (Tsuda Mizuhiki Orikata)

3. Jonama-gashi Making Experience (Ishikawa Kanko Bussan Kan)

Kanazawa has been famous as one of the three major homes for wagashi (Japanese confectionery) along with Kyoto and Matsue. From old times, imaginative, original, beautiful and delicate wagashi have been created as the tea ceremony culture thrived. The experience you can have that is unique to Kanazawa is making jonama-gashi. Jonama-gashi is high-grade, fresh wagashi. At the Ishikawa Kanko Bussan Kan (Ishikawa Tourist Shopping Center), right next to Kenroku-en, you can enjoy making jonama-gashi with artisans from a long-established wagashi shop. Don't worry and relax even if it's your first time, for skilled artisans will guide you through the process. You can bring home 3 wagashi that you made and 1 made by an artisan as a souvenir. Making the wagashi yourself might make it taste even more delicious.

Fee: 1,230 JPY (incl.tax, comes with a shopping ticket worth 500 JPY)
Time required: Approximately 30-40 min
Held on: Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays in January to November
※Double check the dates and times by checking the experience reservation calendar on the website, since it sometimes is held on weekdays as well.
※Reservation required (reservation on the same day accepted), foreigners welcome


Photo provided by: Kanazawa-shi


Photo provided by: Kanazawa-shi

3. Jonama-gashi Making Experience (Ishikawa Kanko Bussan Kan)

4. Yuzen Dyeing Experience (Kaga Yuzen Kaikan)

Kaga yuzen is a traditional craft with approximately 500 years of history that represents Kanazawa. Compared to Kyo yuzen which has spectacular designs of gold leaf and embroidery, Kaga yuzen is known for its chic colors and designs of nature such as flowers or birds painted with a delicate touch.
At Kaga Yuzen Kaikan, a facility built for people to be familiar with Kaga yuzen, you can experience yuzen dyeing, such as stencil dyeing on a handkerchief or hand painting where you can create your own design from scratch. Creating yuzen using special dyes or brushes is a rare experience. Go and challenge yourself.

Fee: Starting at 1,620 JPY per piece (incl. tax)
Time required: Approximately 20-60 min
※No reservation required, foreigners welcome


*Photo is for illustration purposes.


Photo provided by: Kanazawa-shi

4. Yuzen Dyeing Experience (Kaga Yuzen Kaikan)

5. Tea Ceremony Experience (Nishida Family's Garden Gyokusen-en)

In Kanazawa, the tea ceremony culture has prospered since the successive lords encouraged tea ceremony, and the culture to savor tea was widespread even among local citizens by the 17th century. Today tea ceremonies are still frequently held in Kanazawa. There are many facilities where you can see tea ceremony rooms or tea utensils and enjoy tea.
At Saisetsu-tei, one of the oldest tea ceremony rooms in Kanazawa located in the Nishida Family's Garden Gyokusen-en, known for its history which is 120 years older than Kenroku-en (one of Japan's three famous gardens) you can experience tea ceremony while enjoying a beautiful garden. No doubt taking a luxurious moment to quiet your heart while you savor tea will become an unforgettable memory of your journey.

Fee: 1,700 JPY (including admission fee)
Time required: About 60 min
※Foreigners welcome, English available
※Reservation required 3 days in advance


*Photo is for illustration purposes.

5. Tea Ceremony Experience (Nishida Family's Garden Gyokusen-en)

In Kanazawa traditional crafts are so popular that it was designated as a UNESCO Craft Creative City in 2009. It is a great opportunity for you to watch the skills of artisans or to create something yourself, so try to challenge yourself and have fun.

*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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Writer: HITODE3

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