Hashimoto Kousaku Sikki is situated in the small port city of Wajima in northern Ishikawa prefecture. The rugged coastline along the Sea of Japan creates a picturesque scene, with this historic city nestled quietly between the ocean waters and green forests that blanket the surrounding hills. For centuries, urushi trees from these forests have provided the vital sap that is transformed into urushi lacquer. Even today, the lifestyle around Wajima remains closely tied to this natural environment through its thriving agriculture, fishing and lacquerware businesses.
The city itself maintains a nostalgic feeling, as many traditional buildings still line the central streets, displaying their distinctive wood framing, bright exteriors and bamboo window coverings. This authentic atmosphere from years past is fitting for a proud community of skilled craftsmen working hard to preserve its handicrafts, techniques and traditions for future generations.
An old-world approach to products and processes
Lacquerware has been firmly rooted in the history of Wajima since its introduction in the fifteenth century. Over the years, the lacquerware techniques evolved into a distinctive style known as “Wajima-nuri.” A unique aspect of this style is silica powder, extracted from local clay, that is added to the base lacquer creating an extremely durable undercoating. The special production process of Wajima-nuri also contributed to its reputation for high quality — each craftsman specializes in just a single step, such as woodwork or gold decorations, in order to make products with consistent quality. Arguably though, the success of Wajima-nuri was due to the “nushiya,” or producers, who traveled throughout Japan during the Edo period to stay close to customers and emerging cultural trends for new lacquerware products.
Hashimoto Kousaku Sikki is a third-generation lacquerware business originally established in 1949. The founder, Kousaku Hashimoto, diligently developed his craft in Wajima and passed his knowledge to later generations who continue to specialize in handmade chopsticks reflecting the beauty of Japan. Today, in the traditional world of lacquerware, the company has a unique perspective since all its craftspeople are women. These women aspire to create happiness through beautiful chopsticks, as reflected in their slogan, “Culture starts from food. Food culture starts from chopsticks.”
Feeling comfortable with a soft smooth texture
People are now more health-conscious than ever with the growing popularity in organic food, organic fabrics and natural products. That makes Hashimoto urushi chopsticks, crafted from local wood and coated with natural urushi lacquer, a smart choice for life today. Why? Because the wood contains hinokitiol and the lacquer contains urushiol, which are proven to have antibacterial properties. And the natural lacquer has a remarkably smooth feeling when placed in your hands or when it touches your mouth.
Yet the most striking characteristic of Hashimoto urushi chopsticks may be their sheer beauty. From simple patterns to traditional designs to seasonal images, the elaborate artwork embodies the beauty and warmth of Japanese culture. These artistic scenes pass directly before your eyes with every bite to enhance your perception of taste and quality.
The beautiful hand-painted imagery is thanks to the decorative techniques of the Hashimoto Kousaku Sikki craftspeople. These traditional artisans are exceptionally skilled at maki-e, where gold powder is delicately sprinkled onto hand-drawn patterns, and chinkin, where carved grooves are filled with gold leaves or powder. This pure gold, sourced from the famous city of Kanazawa, adds elegance and makes these chopsticks perfect for wedding presents or formal gifts.
Making food taste even better
Wajima urushi chopsticks can add beauty and enjoyment to your meal, whether casually eating with friends or formally entertaining guests. Friends will appreciate your heartfelt gesture to create an attractive atmosphere. Guests will admire the tranquil beauty these chopsticks bring to each tableware setting. And remember, we’re now living in an exciting world of fusion – not only for combining diverse cuisine but also for combining diverse tableware. So, in addition to eating utensils, consider using Wajima urushi chopsticks as serving utensils for foods like meat slices, vegetables, or flatbreads.
Our fast-paced lifestyle today has created new ways to enjoy Wajima urushi chopsticks. People worldwide have started making bento lunches (Japanese box lunches) to take food to their schools and offices. Pairing a traditional bento box with Wajima urushi chopsticks can bring a homestyle feeling into your lunchtime, although you’re away from home. While at dinnertime, busy people often haul takeout food home after a hectic working day. This is an ideal chance to decline disposable chopsticks and instead use Wajima urushi chopsticks to magically transform takeout food into homestyle food.
Japan Tourism Association Chairman's Award at the 46th National Tourism Souvenir Examination Committee
Ishikawa Brand Excellent New Product Award Certification
The 56th National Tourism Souvenir Examination Committee Winner