Lacquer is an art that requires patience. Sap is drawn from adult lacquer trees and then continuously stirred while drying in order to remove excess water. When thick enough, it is colored with natural pigments, before being applied in multiple layers to a wooden base. As each layer dries, it is polished before another layer is painted over it, creating a luster that seems bottomless.
Wajima, on the Noto Peninsula about a two-hour drive from historical Kanazawa City, has long been a center of lacquerware production. Of Wajima’s producers, Taya Shikkiten is one of the most famous. This firm, established in 1818, preserves traditional Wajima lacquerware techniques creating typical items such as chopsticks and tableware as well as modern interior furnishings and stationery. Observe master artisans at work at the Taya Shikkiten atelier, or try decorating a lacquerware piece for yourself. Lacquerware enthusiasts can also view a beautiful collection of lacquer work displayed in a traditional kominka house that has been stylishly renovated.