Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum

About the Museum

Gold leaf has been made in Japan since ancient times, and presently, Kanazawa is the largest producer of gold leaf in all of Japan.
Throughout history, gold leaf has been used for decorating temples, shrines, palaces, Buddhist statues and altars, as well as paintings and craft works. Even today, you may find it applied to accessories, or in cosmetics and food. It also plays an important part in the restoration of cultural properties.
Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum presents the history of gold leaf in Kanazawa, including the process of making gold leaf and the tools involved. Also on display are art and craft works embellished with gold and gold leaf.
The museum has collected around 300 pieces, most of which are Japanese works from the early modern period, the Edo era, to the present day. The collection includes; paintings such as byobu (folding screens) and kakejiku (hanging scrolls), Kutani-yaki (a local style of ceramics), Kaga-maki-e (a local technique of lacquerware sprinkled with gold powder), Wajima-chinkin (a local technique of lacquerware inlayed with gold leaf powder) and Kaga-zogan (a local technique of metal inlay). Additionally, Noh costumes, examples of maki-e techniques and Kanazawa Buddhist altars which are a traditional craft art representative of Kanazawa are part of the collection.
The museum was founded in 1974 by a gold leaf craftsman, Yasue Takaaki (1898-1997) who was eager to hand down "the pride and the legacy of gold leaf craftsmen" for future generations. In 1985, the museum was donated to Kanazawa City and moved in 2010 from its original location, Kitayasue, to Higashiyama, an area with a close connection to gold leaf. The gold leaf workshops began here at the end of the Edo period, and today, artisans maintain the tradition by still living here.
The exterior design of the new museum is inspired by the architecture of Kanazawa's traditional storehouses and gold leaf is applied throughout the building. The building also houses the Kanazawa-Haku Research Center which supports studies for the promotion of the metal leaf industry of Kanazawa.

Floor Map


Multi-purpose Exhibition Hall

Used for craftwork exhibits and cultural interaction


Permanent Exhibit Gallery

Here, you can see what gold leaf looks like, as well the production process to make it

Rest area

Benches are available if you would like to take a break

Temporary Exhibition Gallery

You can see the exhibition of art, craft and gold leaf


Seminar Room

Where lectures and classes related to Kanazawa crafts are held

  • Reception desk
  • Elevator
  • Men's toilet
  • Women's toilet
  • Multi-purpose toilet
  • Coin lockers
  • Gold leaf ceiling eaves
  • Gold leaf parabolic ceiling

Size of the grounds…757.51m2

Floor space…1,392.74m2

  • 1st Floor: 497.73m2(On this floor: Multi-purpose Exhibition Hall 128.25m2)
  • 2nd Floor: 443.54m2(On this floor: Exhibition Room 279.52m2)
  • 3rd Floor: 437.56m2(On this floor: Seminar Room 129.65m2)



9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (No admission after 4:30 p.m.)


Tuesdays (or the next weekday if Tuesday is a holiday)
New Year Holidays (Dec.29-Jan.3)
Periods of exhibit change

Admission Fee

General Admission ¥310
Group Admission (more than 20 people) ¥260
Senior Citizens (over 65 years old) ¥210
Child/Student (through high school) Free


Transportation Directions

  • Hokutetsu Bus
  • JR Bus
  • Loup Bus
    From Kanazawa station bus terminal (east gate) Stop at "Hashibacho"
    3-4 minutes walk to the museum.

* The museum does not have any parking facilities, so please use public transportation instead.

Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum

1-3-10 Higashiyama, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken 920-0831
Tel : 076-251-8950 Fax : 076-251-8952







robe with a design of hermitages and flowers in karaori


Late Edo period, 1856

Karaori, literally "Chinese weave," is a richly brocaded garment mostly for female roles in play.
Gold ground is woven using gold thread. Hermitages, pine trees and flowers are represented by floating colored wefts, creating a surface effect similar to that of embroidery. The gold or silver thread used for karaori, as in the present work, is made by pasting gold or silver leaf on washi (traditional Japanese handmade paper), then shredding it into threads.

Flower vase in kinran-de (overglaze enamels and gold decoration), Satsuma ware


Meiji period, 19th century

Kinran-de (literally, brocade style) is a style of decorative ware in which gold leaf or gold paint, made by dissolving gold leaf powder in animal glue, is applied on overglaze enamels.
Ceramics made in Kagoshima Prefecture (former Satsuma Province) are collectively called "Satsuma ware," which can be roughly categorized into informal folk craft kuro-Satsuma (literally, black Satsuma) and ornately decorated shiro-Satsuma (literally, white Satsuma).

Suzuri-bako (writing box) with auspicious composition of pine and cranes in maki-e

IGARASHI Zuiho (1852-1903)

Meiji era, 19th century

On the surface of the lid, the pine tree bark is depicted in taka-maki-e, a technique in which gold or silver powder is sprinkled over a lacquer design raised with carbon powder. The sky is filled with nashiji (pear skin finish) which is rendered by scattering gold powder. On the inside of the body, autumn flowers are depicted with raden, a technique in which mother-of-pearl is cut into the shape of a design and affixed in place with lacquer.
IGARASHI, born in Kanazawa, was the last lacquer artisan of the Igarashi School that continued since Muromachi period (1333-1573).

Folding screen in color on paper with gold leaf, "Sights in and around Kyoto (Rakuchu rakugai)"

Attributed to IWASA Katsushige (1604-1673)

Edo period, 17th century

The theme of "in and around Kyoto" together with the depiction of people's lives began to be painted in the late Muromachi period (16th century), when the interest in genre painting had become strong. The theme became popular throughout the Edo period (17th -19th centuries).
In the present work, which is mounted in a screen format, the theme is depicted on paper to which gold leaf has been pasted. Sunago (gold and silver leaf powder) is sprinkled on the lower parts of the screen.

Buddhist figure Eleven-headed Avalokitesvara (Kannon) in wood


Muromachi period? (1333-1573)

The introduction of Buddhism to Japan in the 6th century brought about popular worship in Avalokitesvara (Kannon), particularly the Eleven-headed Avalokitesvara as it is said to save worshippers from difficulties.
Gold paint, which is made by dissolving gold leaf powder in animal glue, is applied to the body of the statue. The robe and the pedestal are decorated in kirikane, a technique in which several sheets of gold or silver leaf baked and attached to each other are cut into various small shapes and then applied on the surface of the statue.