Odawara lacquerware

Odawara lacquerware Odawara shikki

Practical product with charmingly beautiful wood grain
A flavor that deepens with use


What is Odawara lacquerware ?

Odawara shikki is a type of lacquerware that is made in Odawara city, Kanagawa Prefecture. Odawara lacquerware features a glossy finish highlighting the beautiful grain of the material. The lacquer, which makes use of the natural wood grain, is beautiful, and the pieces are durable, have few distortions and are very practical. Some of the main lacquer techniques are known as "kijironuri" and "suriurushinuri."
Wooden base is prepared by shaving the wood using a potter's wheel machine and it is coated again and again and then polished. The raw lacquer used is sap taken from a lacquer tree; it has such properties as being antibacterial, waterproof, and corrosion resistant; it is also a heat insulator. For colors like vermilion and black, the raw lacquer is processed and used in the course of the intermediate and top coatings; the more coats, the stronger the lacquer. In addition, the wood used as a material is mainly from domestically-grown zelkova trees, which makes for less distortion and produces durable lacquerware. Because the lacquerware has been distributed as a utilitarian product, even if it deteriorates over time, it can be recoated with lacquer and continue in use.


Odawara lacquerware is said to have originated around the middle of the Muromachi period. At that time a group of people who specialized in grinding using a potter's wheel lived in Odawara and they began making utensils from the fine-quality wood that was abundantly available in Hakone and Izu. The lacquer craftsmen gathered for the construction of Odawara Castle developed a method of using lacquer to coat the wooden vessels made by turning and grinding on a potter’s wheel, and this developed into what came to be known as Odawara lacquerware. In the Warring States period, Ujiyasu HOJO, in the third generation of the Hojo clan, was seeking ways to further develop Odawara lacquerware and invited lacquerware craftsmen, who hit upon the “irourushinuri” technique. Thanks to this, the technique of Odawara lacquerware became established in the mid-Edo period, and not only daily necessities such as bowls and trays, but also weapons began to be produced.
Furthermore, at that time, utilitarian Odawara lacquerware was also being shipped to Edo. It was, moreover, regarded as an attractive souvenir of Odawara, which was prospering as a castle town and was a highly convenient and leading post station on the Tokaido Road. The tradition of Odawara lacquerware souvenirs has continued to this day.

General Production Process

Where to Buy & More Information

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