Traditional Crafts

Kanazawa City, (Kah-nah-zah-wah) meaning “marsh of gold”, is said to derive its name from the legend of a peasant who was digging for potatoes, but instead discovered flakes of gold. Facing the East China Sea and the Asian coast, the city of 450,000 people is located west of the Japan Alps. Many of their customs evolved from the practices of the citizens to overcome the severity of long, cold winters. This hearty, resourceful people pray at temples and shrines, but have never heard the gospel. Today, less than 0.5 percent profess Christ as Savior and Lord.


Twenty-two kinds of traditional crafts have been preserved along with the city’s distinctive samurai culture and lifestyle that has passed down from generation to generation. Kanazawa produces famous crafts such as gold leaf, Kaga-yuzen silk dyeing, lacquer ware and Kutani ceramics. Craft artists live near the ruins of Kanazawa Castle in the center of the city. Within Japan, Kanazawa has the largest number of important artisans and living national treasures in relation to their total population.


Kanazawa is famous for its “Haku”, “gold leaf”, or gold beaten into paper like sheets. Ninety nine percent of the gold leaf produced in Japan is made in Kanazawa. It is essential for decorating lacquer ware, woven cloth, pottery and Buddhist altars found in most Japanese homes. It covers the “Gold Pavilion” Temple in Kyoto, a religious center in Japan.


During the Edo period (17th to 19th century) icehouses, “himuros”, stored frozen snow until June 1st when the local clan leader would present the Edo Shogun with frozen snow. For four days and nights eight porters running non-stop carried snow wrapped in bamboo leaves to Tokyo 250 miles away. As the carriers traveled, the townspeople gathered at the shrine to pray for the safe delivery of the frozen snow. Life is still focused on their temples and festivals.


Prayer requests:

•   Pray for the people of Kanazawa to hear the Gospel and be saved becoming citizens of heaven whose streets are made of gold that is eternal.
•   Pray the artisans will realize their talents are from God and use them to create beautiful crafts and products that create a spiritual hunger in people’s hearts to know God.
•   Pray for dedicated hearty “carriers of the gospel” to rise up and take the gospel to cities throughout Japan.


Prayer Profile – Kanazawa City (Downloadable PDF File)


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