Kawatsura Lacquer Ware
The beginnings of this craft go back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when the younger brother of the lord of the fief who ruled this area, ordered the retainers to take up lacquering pieces of armor and weaponry as a job, using locally tapped lacquer and Japanese beech cut from the mountains in the area. The making of bowls began in earnest in the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868) and by the end of the period work was concentrated on the three districts of Kawatsura in what is now Inakawa-cho, Odate and Minashi and the making of everyday pieces of household goods flourished in what had become a production center.
Edo Sekku Ningyo
Edo doll production began in the early Edo period (1600s) due to influence from Kyoto, but the unique Edo style is said to have begun 250 years ago in the Horeki era.
Yamagata Metal Casting
In the middle of the Heian period (794-1185), Minamoto Yoriyoshi fought a number of battles in the Yamagata area in an effort to quell various uprisings. The metal casters, who were part and parcel of the army and operations, discovered that the quality of the sand in the river flowing through Yamagata city and the earth in present-day Chitose park were ideal for casting. Some of those casters settled in the area and became the founders of Yamagata metal casting.
Edo Decorative Papers
The origin of these decorative papers dates back to a type of paper used during the Heian period (794-1185) to write out the traditional style of poem called a waka. Nevertheless, it was not until the Middle Ages that decorative papers were applied to free-standing screens and were stretched over the sliding screens called fusuma dividing interior space.
Kanazawa Lacquer Ware
The Kaga clan, which held sway over the area now known as Ishikawa Prefecture, actively promoted the arts and many crafts. Kanazawa Shikki was just one of those and dates back to the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868).
Agano Yaki dates back to the 17th century, when Hosokawa Tadaoki, who became the feudal lord of the Kokura clan in 1602, invited a Korean potter to come to Japan and had members of his clan construct a noborigama--one of the famous ""climbing kilns--in Agano.
Kyoto Household Buddhist Altars
Household Buddhist altars were a variation of miniature shrines called zushi and were originally used exclusively by the warrior classes. It is thought that the production of ordinary household altars began in earnest with an increase in the numbers of people requiring one at the beginning of the Edo period (1600-1868), when the Tokugawa Shogunate introduced new religious policies.
Osaka Fine Cabinetry
Fine rarewood cabinetry was brought to Japan by the envoys who visited Tang dynasty China, hence the name of these woods in Japanese is literally ""woods of Tang"" or karaki. During the Edo period (1600-1868) when foreign intrusions were mostly shunned, rarewoods come into the country via Nagasaki and they were distributed through a wholesaler of medicines in Osaka.
Koshu Crystal Carving
This craft started some one thousand years ago, after quartz was found near Mount Kinpu beyond Mitakeshosenkyo, which is famous for its beautiful views. When it was first discovered, it was used as an ornament but by the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), Shinto priests were taking the raw material to Kyoto to have them made into gems.
It seems likely that Echigo Chijimi's ikat techniques became established during the first half of the 18th century. However, it was not until the latter part of the 19th century that they were used for weaving a silk cloth, after a warp ikat had been successfully perfected.
Odate Bentwood Work
Satake Yoshinobu was a military commander who fought with Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Hideyoshi was vanquished and Satake was ordered by the Tokugawa Shogunate to move from his former domain of Mito to Akita in the extreme north of Honshu. He found the people there were very poor and some did not even have enough to eat. As castellans of Odate castle, the western branch of Satake family set about trying to relieve the poverty of their people by using the rich supplies of timber to be found in the fief.
Kanazawa Gold Leaf
The history of Kanazawa Haku can be traced back to the latter half of the Sengoku period (1428-1573), when Maeda Toshiie, the feudal lord of the Kaga clan governing the southern part of the area now known as Ishikawa Prefecture, sent a document back to the country from a campaign in Korea, explaining how to produce gold leaf. The Shogunate subsequently set up a gilders' guild and controlled the production and sale of gold leaf throughout the country.