Yosegi-Zaiku (Hakone Marquetry) Filled with Craftsmanship - JAPAN CRAZE Magazine vol.14 -

In this issue, we would like to introduce "yosegi-zaiku" (Hakone Marquetry) – a traditional handicraft in Hakone and Odawara, which can be reached by train from Tokyo in less than an hour. Located within the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is a mountain town known for its hot spring resort and spectacular views of Mt.Fuji.

Hakone Ekimae Shopping Street
The "Hakone Ekimae Shopping Street" is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants

Hakone is known for having as many varieties of trees as Arashiyama in Kyoto and Daisen in Tottori, and has long been a center of marquetry production.

It is said that "yosegi-zaiku" originated in the late Edo period, when trays and boxes were made by taking advantage of the characteristics of Hakone's mountains, which are rich in wood species.

A wide variety of wood is shaved into small pieces, and the pieces are then combined to create a variety of patterns. Wood comes in a variety of colors and grains, which are utilized in making the craft of yosegi-zaiku.

A bookmark made with the yosegi-zaiku technique.

The most commonly seen souvenirs commercialized using the yosegi-zaiku marquetry patterns are small boxes, key chains, accessories, hand mirrors, bookmarks, coasters, cups, trays, and tissue boxes.

These are classic products in Japan, but we have never seen them overseas. Recently, fashionable phone stands with yosegi-zaiku marquetry patterns can also be seen, and many small items that can be easily purchased as souvenirs are sold, which are very popular among tourists from overseas, so please visit Hakone when you come to Japan.

The "Secret Box" that can be opened and enjoyed at the same time
The "Secret Box" that can be opened and enjoyed at the same time

Among the yosegi-zaiku marquetry crafts, there is a small box known as a secret box.

A "Secret Box" is a box that incorporates a "puzzle element" that is opened by sliding the faces in a certain sequence. Some secret boxes can be opened in a few slides, while some secret boxes can be only opened over 100 times of slides.

This kind of yosegi-zaiku marquetry "Secret Box" is filled with craftsmanship, and has captivated fans and collectors in Japan and abroad.

Americans' Accommodation Ranking
Source:PR TIMES ( https://prtimes.jp )

Yosegi-zaiku Marquetry is not the only attraction of Hakone-cho.

Looking at historical data, Hakone was the place with the highest number of overnight stays by Americans visiting Japan during the three-month period from September to November. This is more than in any other Tokyo area or Kyoto.

Hakone-cho is a tourist destination within a few hours of access from Tokyo, so it is a good idea to extend your visit to enjoy nature and hot springs.

Hot springs and spectacular views are the best things to be enjoyed in the Hakone area during the upcoming autumn foliage season. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a return visitor, we are sure you will discover the charms of Hakone.

Plus, you can also for souvenirs of "yosegi-zaiku" the delicate handicrafts of the Japanese there!

【PR】Please use JTB, a partner of j-Grab Mall, for your trip to Japan. If you contact us, we can introduce you to JTB to get special deals on tours to Japan, optional tours, JR passes, etc. Please feel free to contact us.

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JAPAN CRAZE Store Manager
Naoko Saito
Japan craze magazine