Yamanaka Lacquerware Craftsmen

The Beauty of Woodturning, A Craft Experience at mokume.

Located in Yamanaka Onsen in a workshop named mokume, Mr. Sato is a craftsman with a passion for his profession. Renowned for its woodturning (kijibiki) and wiped lacquering techniques, the craftsmen of Yamanaka Onsen pride themselves on the precision and finesse of their work.

Born in Osaka, he initially studied visual design, advertising and paper media at university, but during his studies, the desire to make functional objects led him to change his path and begin a one-year study at a vocational school of woodworking. There, he learned to handle tools and to make various furniture. However, his interest and desires soon turned to smaller objects, in particular, traditional Japanese wooden and lacquered tableware. It was at this time that he heard about Yamanaka Onsen and its schools for woodturning and lacquerware.

He left Osaka, and moved to Yamanaka Onsen to attend Ishikawa Prefectural Institute for Yamanaka Lacquerware, a vocational school specialising in woodturning and lacquering techniques, where he studied for 4 years. At the end of his studies, he perfected his techniques for 1 year with a master. It was during his training that he was offered a job in what would become the future mokume workshop.

Mr. Sato's work is a continuity of the legacy of his forefathers as well as more contemporary designs. Working and exchanging ideas with other craftsmen and artists are also important parts of his work. Through his craftsmanship, Mr. Sato wants to convey the beauty of everyday objects. Beyond that, the craftsman's work, i.e. the object itself, is a trace, something that can remain for future generations.

Today, Mr Sato is keen to continue his work, to perfect his skills and to create functional and artistic objects by following in the footsteps of his predecessors.

Yamanaka Lacquerware Workshop

Mokume means 'wood grain'. Established 5 years ago, it offers, under the guidance of Mr. Sato, the opportunity to make your own Yamanaka-nuri lacquerware bowl and learn basic techniques. The experience lasts about 30 minutes. With Mr. Sato's guidance, you will be able to make a beautiful piece to take home as a souvenir.

You can experience woodturning Yamanaka-nuri lacquerware also at Rokuro no Sato Arts and Crafts Hall (a 25-minute walk from Korogi Bridge or 5 minutes by taxi) which is an atelier and crafts hall, located in a charming traditional, old, Japanese village house.
Both workshops are very interesting and will give you a glimpse of Japanese craftsmen work, and create by yourself a beautiful piece.


Wooden base on a soup bowl on a lath.


Using a bowl gouge to sand down and sculpt the bowl.


The process requires lots of concentration to control the gouge and physical strength.


Great dexterity is needed to make perfect bowls. Craftsmen devote their lives to refining their techniques.


The woodturning lathe workshop is about a 15-minute experience under the instruction of one of the locals craftsmen.


You will always be welcomed by the locals craftsmen of Kaga. Here, Rokuro-no-Sato.