Leaves of Gold

Our next stop was close to the Hagashi  Chaya District but before going there we wanted to see some other things. We walked along a narrow road and then the bank of the Saigawa river in the Kazue-machi Chaya area looking as we went for the confectionery museum. First we found a shop where it was possible to work with gold leaf. Some customers were doing this and we watched for a while. First a stencil is placed on the object to be decorated. Then with bamboo tweezers a small piece of gold leaf is loosened from its covering papers, one side is opened and the gold leaf placed over the stencil, then after a little rubbing the other paper is removed. Then the gold leaf has to be pressed on firmly with a special little pad. Finally it is really polished and then the stencil is removed rapidly leaving gold leaf in the appropriate area. The last stage seems to be in removing any gold leaf which is in the wrong place or any of the sticky material which had held the stencil in place.

We looked at maps again and once more set out to find the confectionery museum. We did find the phonograph museum which should have been absolutely next to it. But there was a college of art and design!  Well we gave up on the confectionery wondering whether there was some misunderstanding in the translation. We then wandered through the Hagashi Chaya district where we saw a number of shops selling gold leaf products and went into one proclaiming a gold store. Inside there was a window in the floor giving a view of a cellar and some stones on the wall covered with gold.



This post is an extract of my mother’s travel journal written during a tour of Japan in 2014.



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