Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture has a rich history and prides on its cultural heritage. One of the popular art forms here is Kanazawa-nuri (金沢塗り), a style of painting that involves applying colors in several layers and sanding or scraping them to reveal patterns.
In this feature, we talk about a cafe where you can experience this beautiful artform. Kanazawa Saryo (金沢茶寮), which opened in March 2022, combines the concepts of cafe x art. By renovating an old building, the 1st floor functions as a Kanazawa-nuri workshop and the 2nd floor as a cafe. From the cafe, you get a view of the city of Kanazawa too.
The best part about this hands-on experience of creating your own Kanazawa-nuri is that you get to keep the teacup once you finish coloring it. Plus you can drink the tea freshly made in the cafe in your own cup straightaway.
When you enter the cafe, you will see a minimalist counter with 3 types of tea leaves neatly placed next to glass brewing pots.
The Kanazawa-nuri workshop is on one side and occupies about half the space on the first floor.
This is a sample teacup glass that was shown to us before starting. The color and shape of the cup are feminine and cute.
First you choose three colors to paint your teacup.
Next choose a teacup. Since everyone chooses according to their preference, each painted teacup is unique.
The tools used are the same as those for watercolor painting.
We chose yellow, pink and pearl white. Scoop out enough paint from the bottles onto the piece of paper. Make sure to close the lid to prevent the paint from drying out.
Three layers of paint are applied on the cup. The first layer should be lightly applied as if it’s too thick, the 2nd and 3rd layer may peel off. Add paint gradually. After each layer, the staff will use a dryer to dry it completely. Once dry, you apply the next layer. When 3 layers of paint have been applied, you use a sandpaper to polish and create a pattern, which exposes the lower layers of paint. This is the charm of Kanazawa-nuri.
Once finished, the staff will collect your cups and wash them in order to serve delicious tea. You can choose from 3 teas; each one is different in terms of strength, aroma and flavor.
If you like the tea you tried, you can even buy a pack to enjoy a brew at home.
While you wait for tea, feel free to browse and look around.
You can see the staff placing desserts that are paired with the tea.
You will also see objects other than teacups that are decorated using Kanazawa-nuri.
The plates have a very calming feel.
And finally, you’ll be served tea in your own cup on the 2nd floor. As you can see, attention to detail is everything. The sweet treat is made with just as much care as the tea. We were very pleased with how our teacups looked.
The sweet is a chocolate topped with a biscuit coated in green tea powder and decorated with gold leaf that is also unique to Kanazawa. The sweet matched well with the tea.
Did you enjoy reading about this experience? How about trying it out for yourself when you visit Kanazawa.
Kanazawa Saryo (金沢茶寮)
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