Wakasa laquer agate


Wakasa Daruma - Daruma of Wakasa Laquer
and Agate Stone  
若狭のだるま- 漆と瑪瑙

Obama town 小浜市, Fukui 福井

source : www.athome.tsuruga.fukui.jp
by Tsukamoto san 柄本(つかもと)忠彦

「ツカモト民芸センター」 Tsukamoto Mingei Center


Wakasa Province (若狭国, Wakasa no kuni)
was an old province of Japan in the area that is today southern Fukui Prefecture.
It is also known as Jakushū (若州) or Reinan (嶺南).

The province's ancient capital was at Obama, which continued to be the main castle town through the Edo period.

Before the ritsuryō period (7th-8th centuries), Wakasa Province was a part of the Yamato dynasty. Many shrines and temples were established during this period. Wakasa Province also provided fish and other maritime products to the Yamato State, and was called "the land of foods".

From the ritsuryō period until the Edo Period, fish from Wakasa, particularly mackerel, was transported to Nara or Kyoto. In the Edo Period, the city of Tsuruga was a base of the Kitamaebune ships which connected Osaka to Hokuriku and Ezo in the north.

Many temples in the Wakasa area were important sites in the Nara Period, such as Wakasahime Shrine (Obama) and Kehi Shrine (Tsuruga).
Because of the preponderance of temples, Obama is sometimes called "Nara by the sea".
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Shrine Wakasahiko Jinja (若狭彦神社)
Shrine Wakasahime Jinja (若狭姫神社)
and Emperor Jinmu (神武天皇)
. Wakasa wedding of Deities .   


Wakasa Bay 若狭湾

is an inlet in the Sea of Japan, on the northern coast of central Honshu. It has good fishing grounds because of the many natural inlets and a lot of fine natural beaches. It is also known as an area where agate stone is processed. When I passed there in 1995, there was a huge tourist rest area along the road of Obama Town (小浜) with a big shop selling all kinds of stones and the local laquer ware, well equipped like a museum to wander around.
The agate stone is sometimes split in two and on the straight cut face a Daruma is painted with laquer colors.

The laquer Daruma are made of a special process blending all kinds of colored laquer mixed with needles from pine or cedar to make the surface rough and then after covering it with colored laquer it is polished until shining. Sometimes even crushed shells or eggshells are used to produce special effects.

若狭塗の特長は、後半の塗りの工程で松葉や桧の葉などを、漆がまだ乾かない内に、塗り面 に貼る事で、表面に凹凸を付けた上に、箔や色漆などで模様付し、研ぎだす変り塗を特徴とします。貝や卵殻なども入れることがあり、堅牢な塗物です。その堅牢さから、塗箸に活かされ現在では、塗箸の一大産地となったのではないかと思います。


The Wakasa area is blessed with a very beautiful landscape indeed.
For example the SOTOMO cliffs 蘇洞門.  
. . . CLICK here for Photos !                   

There is a pilgrimage around 33 Kannon-Temples in the Wakasa area. You can click on any of the numbers to get a view of the Main Temple.
3 Dragon Temples
第03番 金照山  龍渓院  福井県三方郡美浜町丹生 47-1
第11番 大龍山  永源寺  福井県小浜市田烏 37-3
第17番 龍雲山  神通寺  福井県小浜市遠敷 56-2

. The Dragon Art Gallery - Temples.


Folk art of the Wakasa area 若狭 民芸品
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Food specialities of Wakasa and Echizen area
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


source : fumiekikaku.blog

Let us go back to the Laquer Ware of Wakasa.

Wakasa Laquer Ware
first made by Matsuura Sanjuuroo 松浦三十郎 Matsuura Janjuro, by order from the local Daimyoo Sakai, who also gave it is present name.  

. . . CLICK here for Photos of Chopsticks from Wakasa !

Laquer Chopstiks are one of the specialities of Wakasa, especially in the town of Obama. The Chopstick Festival is on a day pronounced HA -SHI in Japanese, it the eights month and the fourth day of it.  

Daruma for BIG luck
Daruma for a happy couple  
Daruma to increase your diligence  
Princess Daruma for good luck

August 4:箸のふるさと館 Chopstick Festival 箸まつり

. Chopsticks (hashi, ohashi, o-hashi お箸) .
with DARUMA !


Now let us talk about Wakasa Agate Stone art,
which is said to have been introduced with a special technique process by Tamaya Kihei.                   


Wakasa now stands in present-day Fukui Prefecture. One of the old villages of Wakasa was called Onyu and it was this area that was served by the main shrine of the province. Back in the Nara period (710-794), a sea-faring people known as the Wanizoku, who made jade the object of their faith, came to the area and built what was called the Wani-kaido, a road in front of the shrine. Here they started making jade objects and Wakasa agate work is said to have begun at this time. In the middle of the Edo period (1600-1868), a technique to enhance the color of agate by heating it was perfected and by the 19th century, a range of cutting and shaping techniques were added.

Agate is a semi-transparent type of quartz with markings similar to annual rings. The same people who noticed that it turned a wonderful color when heated to between 200-300°C, perfected the firing techniques that are now so special to Wakasa agate work. Being an extremely hard stone, a great deal of time is taken over cutting and polishing the stone in order to create lovely animals, Buddhist statues, censers, sake cups and all kinds of personal ornaments
source : kougeihin.jp


When we were in the area, we also travelled to a most scenic peninsula close by, to the five colorful lakes of Mikata (三方). They have salt water and seawater in differrent mixtures and are all of different colours. In the middle of the area on a mountain is a visitors center with a beautiful view and of course the local Daruma for sale. Another speciality of the area are dried salty plums (umeboshi 梅干).

Mikata no gokoo 三方の五湖 Five Lakes
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Wakasa Daruma from my collection


Gookaku Daruma from Wakasa Laquer
合格ダルマ 生産ピーク~福井・小浜市

source : www.mbs.jp/news - VIDEO

They help students pass an examination and are quite pouplar in 2012.

. gookaku 合格(ごうかく)Daruma to pass an examination .


Urushi 漆 ウルシ Lacquer Ware and Daruma
General Information

. Menoo 瑪瑙だるま Agate Daruma  

Local dishes from Fukui and Wakasa




1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

Tango Kaido 丹後街道 Tango Highway
From Fukui to Maizuru, Kyoto.