Kanazawa Craft Workshop
Kinpaku: Widely used in anything from crafts to jewelry and soft-serve ice cream!
Hello! My name is Dorsaf. I am from Tunisia. I came to Kanazawa a year ago to teach Biology.
Kanazawa is a city with a unique dedication to craft shaped by its history. Both this fascinating legacy and the charms of modern Japan can be experienced at once in this special slice of the country. Roaming through the older quarters of the city, the number of shops selling gold-leaf crafts is striking. That would be because gold leaf is a Kanazawa specialty.
Hakuichi is one of the biggest companies engaged in gold leaf manufacturing and distribution. My visit there started with the staff showing me around the shop on the first floor. Items to match every taste line the walls: jewelry, cosmetics, dishes, chopsticks, boxes, sweets, and even alcohol. If you are visiting you will certainly find a unique souvenir there.
I was then guided downstairs to the basement floor. In the middle of the hall is a display of a glorious replica of samurai armor and a helmet with gold leaf decorations. I was drawn to it the second I set foot in the hall and spent quite some time standing there mesmerized by the details of the craft.
We then observed a craftswoman transfer the incredibly thin layer of gold. She mentioned that all the materials used are bamboo-made in order to avoid generating static electricity. All her movements were impressively smooth and fast. It was as if she was in a synchronized dance with the gold leaf. Watching her work was both enthralling and relaxing.
My calmness was interrupted by the realization that, although I love arts and crafts, I have never been much of an arts and crafts person myself. The combination of my lack of experience and the delicate handiwork of the task made me think that it might not go well. Indeed, I was nervous handling the few first steps of the task. However, the craftswoman was by my side guiding me gently through it saying the most encouraging words. I slowly but surely relaxed and got better at it. Soon enough I was enjoying it. If you are an artsy person I am convinced you are going to enjoy the workshop a lot. If you are like me, not very confident in your craft skills, I really recommend you give it a try, you will be supported the whole time and get a sense of achievement when you are done.
My visit ended with all the editing team gathered, around a table eating gold leaf ice cream. Gold is considered biologically inert, it passes through your digestive system without being absorbed. Although it does not have a particular taste, it is very aesthetically-pleasing and it brings a glamorous element to the dining experience.
Dorsaf Gatri, is from Tunisia. She did her master’s degree in Environmental sciences in Shimane and came to Kanazawa a little bit over a year ago.
2-1-1 Morito, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-8061 / Phone 076-240-8911
HOURS: 9:00 - 18:00; closed on Januaty 1st
WORKSHOP: 9:00 - 17:00 *Reservation required