Superior Selections of MONOZUKURI ItemsTakaoka: a place familiar to the Maeda lords of Kaga domain

TOP > Takaoka: a place familiar to the Maeda lords of Kaga domain

In feudal times, Kaga Domain straddled present-day Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures, and here, in what, 400 years ago was a wilderness, Toshinaga the second Maeda Lord of Kaga built Takaoka Castle.
To kickstart production in the castle town, the lord invited metal casters to settle in became known as the Kanayamachi metal-working quarter which, along with a street called Yama-ch Suji, since the time of Toshinaga has been center stage for the procession and other events of the Takaoka Mikurumayama Festival, and remain locations where the traditional culture of craftsmen and townsmen is still celebrated and transmitted to the present.
Wander around these parts of town and touch the time-honored culture of Takaoka.

1Takaoka Mikurumayama
Museum

Takaoka Mikurumayama Museum

Presenting 400 years of history and outstanding artisanal skills

2Otera-Kohachiro Shoten
shop

Otera-Kohachiro Shoten shop

In a tasteful building, you can see gracious bronze products

3Risaburo Studio
Foundry

Risaburo Studio Foundry

Workshop endowed with the oldest skills

4Yotsukawa
Works

Yotsukawa Works

Old-established bronze foundry with two brand lineups

1Takaoka
Mikurumayama Museum

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Gorgeous Mikurumayama floats showcase outstanding artisanal skills

In 1588, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the ruler of Japan, presented to Toshiie, the first Maeda Lord of Kaga Domain, the ceremonial court carriage he rode when visiting members of the Imperial Household. In 1609, around the time of the construction of Takaoka Castle, second-generation Lord Toshinaga, the town father, bestowed the vehicle on the townspeople of the castle town, and so began the history of Mikurumayama floats.
In the name, mi is an honorific, kuruma means car, and yama refers to the high central pole with its umbrella like decoration. During the spring festival of Takaoka Sekino Shrine, annually on May 1, gorgeously decorated using metalworking, lacquering, woodcarving, dyeing and other living artisanal skills of the townspeople, these floats set out in procession through the city’s thronging streets.
In 2016, recognized as one of the notable "Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals in Japan," Takaoka Mikurumayama Festival was inscribed as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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2Otera-Kohachiro
Shoten shop

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Rows of latticed buildings in the metal-casting quarter

Metal casters first moved into this part of town, known as Kanaya-machi, in 1609. In recent times, many workshops have moved to the suburbs, but the old-time appearance of the lattice-fronted business premises along the stone paved street retains the atmosphere of those lively days.
Along this street, in business since 1860, Otera-Kohachiro Shoten is a long-established store. After starting off by casting kettle braziers and other everyday items, the family business expanded into the wholesale trade, as well. These days, besides manufacturing and wholesaling operations, the company also runs a cafe and gallery in its characterful main building, which has been standing for 200 years.

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3Risaburo
Studio Foundry

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Workshop endowed with the oldest skills

In the mid-19th century, in a corner of Kanayamachi, making hand braziers, kettle braziers, and other items, Risaburo Foundry was established by first-generation Risaburo. Inheriting techniques present since metal-working was first practiced in Takaoka, the foundry still uses the double casting method.
Suitable for braziers and tea kettles, double casting involves making two molds in iron plates, both together being an external negative image of the finished product, which emerges after these are combined around an internal mold and, to form the object, molten bronze is poured in to fill the gap. The workshop studio makes, exhibits, and sells portable kettle braziers and other tea ceremony utensils, vases, wine coolers, door handles, and various other craft items.

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4Yotsukawa Works

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Old-established bronze foundry with two brand lineups

Set up in Kanayamachi in 1946, Yotsukawa Works started by making vases. In response to the times, various other original cast-bronze products were planned in-house and manufactured, including a highly appreciated incense burner made using precision casting techniques.
While Kisendo, one of the brands developed here, expresses traditional beauty, in tea ceremony utensils and incense burners, born of our legacy of traditional artisanal skill, the other Kisen brand of stylish tableware matches refined modern lifestyles.

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Route map

1.Takaoka Mikurumayama Museum
⇩ approximately 7 minutes on foot; about 600 m
2.Otera-Kohachiro Shoten shop
⇩ approximately 1 minute on foot; about 60 m
3.Risaburo Studio Foundry
⇩ approximately 1 minute on foot; about 90 m
4.Yotsukawa Works

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