Bronzeware is a Takaoka tradition with a history of 400 years. A wide range of bronzeware is made, from tea utensils, vases, incense burners and Buddhist altar equipment to statues and temple bells, with household goods and interior items also being made from bronze recently. Prices range considerably: for example, vases range from affordable works costing around \10,000 to masterpieces that sell for over a million yen. You can purchase Takaoka bronze from places such as bronzeware stores around Takaoka or the Takaoka Local Industry Centre. One bronze company, Nosaku, has attracted much acclaim in recent years for its products made from 100% tin using casting technology. Its products are now sold in famous department stores in Tokyo, and even overseas. Why not look for a Toyama bronze product as a souvenir – you’re sure to find something you’ll love!
Inami wood carvings are famous for their use on ranma, the opening between the door and ceiling in traditional Japanese rooms. The history of these intricate, exquisite carvings can be traced back to the 18th century. The traditional technique uses over 200 chisels from the rough carving stage to the finishing stage, with meticulous attention paid to presentation during the careful crafting of the works. In addition to traditional staples such as ranma, ornaments and partitioning screens, the carvers are opening up new frontiers, working to meet a new variety of needs by developing products such as door plates, sign boards and interior light fittings with this beautiful technique. Yokamachi-dori Road, a cobbled road leading from Zuisen-ji Temple, is lined with various wood carving studios, art galleries and sake breweries, providing a charming streetscape for a stroll.
Washi, traditional Japanese paper, has a long history in the Etchu region, with Etchu washi even referenced in ancient texts such as the Shoso-in Corpus, a collection of documents from the Nara period (710-794). It is made in three regions – Gokayama in Nanto, Yatsuo in Toyama City and Hirutani in Asahi – with “Etchu washi” used as a collective name for washi from the three regions. In addition to traditional washi making, local washi makers are actively working to develop new crafts and manufactured products. Keijusha, a Yatsuo washi studio, has been opened to tourists, with exhibits of materials and washi products for you to buy. Gokayama Washi-no-Sato is another popular attraction of a similar kind. Make sure you try activities such as making your own unique washi postcard or bookmark – you’ll be able to take home a great souvenir unlike any other in the world!