FIND YOUR ISHIKAWA
Nurturing Japanese crafts: The artisans of Ishikawa
Ishikawa thrives with traditional Japanese crafts that have been nurtured for generations. Among the wealth of art produced by talented local artisans are decorative Kutani china (Kutani-yaki), gold leaf, rustic Ohi ware and Kaga-yuzen, an ornate silk dyeing technique used for intricate kimonos.
This rich history of crafts and fine art dates to the Edo period (1603–1867), when the area prospered under the rule of the wealthy Maeda family. The shogun was wary that the local lords’ riches could present a threat to his authority over all of Japan. To put the shogun at ease, the Maedas chose not to hoard their resources, and instead spent prolifically on the arts.
The Maedas established craft workshops where experts from around Japan could come to hone their skills. They created a special administrative agency to sponsor talented artisans, some of whom received financial support and studio space in the grounds of Kanazawa Castle.
Japanese arts, such as Noh theater and tea ceremony flourished, and many specialized crafts, such as gold leaf, Ohi ware, Kutani china, and Kaga-yuzen silk dyeing, developed out of these traditions. Today, there are countless opportunities to experience Ishikawa’s thriving artistic culture firsthand.