Places

Kōgei Art Fair Kanazawa 2017

See the Past and Future of Japanese Craft Making

History is alive in Kanazawa, a Japanese coastal city of nearly half a million people. Located somewhat off the beaten path on the western coast of Honshu Island, where the Japanese Alps meet the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa is one of the few Japanese cities largely spared the destruction of World War II. The spectacular landscape gardens of Kenrokuen, a restored samurai district, and centuries-old teahouses speak to an earlier era in this beautiful castle town.

From 1583 to 1868, the Kaga Domain—much of what is today’s Ishikawa Prefecture, with Kanazawa the capital—was ruled by the Maeda clan, a group of wealthy feudal lords who emphasized art, craft, and cuisine. That legacy lives on: today, Ishikawa Prefecture is often called the “Craft Kingdom,” and Kanazawa is its beating heart.

Central to this craft tradition is kōgei, an enigmatic concept in Japanese object design. The incredibly diverse array of kōgei objects exists somewhere between art and highly skilled craft. In honor of the city’s past and future as a kōgei destination, this November the city will host the first Kōgei Art Fair Kanazawa 2017, spotlighting work by 150 artists from nearly 30 galleries in Japan and abroad.

Artwork:

  1. Jung-hong Park, Pebbles, Gallery LVS & CRAFT
  2. Kensuke Fukada, Socks, Shibuya Kuroda Toen
  3. Mitsuhiro Karasumaru, Hannya, Mizuma Art Gallery
  4. Satoshi Hara, NANAKO inlay ornament – WORLD, Rîntgenwerke AG
  5. Takuo Nakamura, Vessel, not a Vessel, Sokyo Gallery
  6. Tomonari Kato, Topological Formation 2015-3, Tajiri City Cultural Atelier gallery VOICE, photo: Tatsuo Hayashi
  7. Keigo Kamide, Bunch of Bananas with Design of Mirage, Yoshimi Arts, photo: Yamaguchi Kenichi
  8. Harumi Noguchi, Komainu, Ginza Ippodo
  • kōgei an enigmatic form of object design existing between art and craft, with an emphasis on uniqueness and tradition.
  • omotenashi a proud sense of hospitality essential to Kanazawa’s refined food culture, combining aesthetics, seasonality, and graciousness.
  • wagashi an array of sweet or savory Japanese confections often paired with tea in one of the city’s many teahouses.
"The incredibly diverse array of kōgei objects exist somewhere between art and highly skilled craft."

Plan a Visit to Kanazawa

A Cultural and Culinary Destination

Although the city is becoming more popular with tourists, especially since the launch of the high-speed bullet train, Kanazawa is still off the main tourist circuit. Kōgei Art Fair Kanazawa 2017 (Nov. 24–26) is the perfect entrée to the city’s singular craft tradition—and there’s much, much more to explore.

Thanks to the coastal locale, seafood is plentiful in Kanazawa cuisine, and the city’s legendary food culture can be enjoyed in any of its countless restaurants. The gardens of Kenrokuen, adjacent to the magnificently reconstructed Kanazawa Castle, are undoubtedly the gem of this well-preserved city, while the nearby 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art offers a stunning look at modernity and beyond.

Contact travel@theartoftravel.net for more details about Kōgei Art Fair Kanazawa 2017 and other wonders of the region.