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The Secret of Japanese Wooden Bowls 'Tsumugi'

Yamanaka Onsen of Kaga, where the bowls are manufactured, has been a major lacquerware production area for 450 years. Gato Mikio, the maker of the 'Tsumugi' bowls, was founded in 1908 and is now run by the fourth generation of the family. 

First Choice Timber

The 'Tsumugi' wooden bowls are made from locally sourced Japanese native species of Zelkova tree, which is sturdy and has a naturally beautiful woodgrain. The wood is then naturally dried and smoked.

A Particular Wood Sawing Method

Tategi-mori is a method used to saw the timber to show vertical grains on the bowls, which increases also the resistance to shock, cracking and deformation.

Unique Woodturning Know-How

“Kiji-rokuro-biki” is a traditional woodturning technique to make wooden vessels, which is one of the main features of Yamanaka lacquerware. The shape of the bowl is created by shaving it from the outside to the inside using special tools which are individually made by each craftsman. 

Fine Lacquering Of The Bowls

The Gato Mikio craftsmen use a traditional lacquering technique, the wiped lacquer technique, specific to Yamanaka, that highlights the appearance of the woodgrain. After one layer of lacquer is applied, it is wiped off and dried before another layer is applied. The process is repeated several times.

A Unique Japanese Tableware Piece For All Occasions

These elegant and lightweight 'Tsumugi' bowls, designed by Ikumi Ishizaki, are as functional as they are beautiful. They are entirely suitable for all kinds of food (originally made as soup bowls) and fit all table settings.

Japanese Bowl Noodles


Discover what the Gato Mikio atelier looks like!

Photos and video by Gato Mikio Inc.