It takes some good wood, and a greater man, to create these gorgeous designs.

Any foreigner that has traveled to Japan has often run across this conundrum: you want to buy a souvenir for home, but everything that’s for sale appears to be edible. Sure, there are some kitschy knickknacks, but they are generally pretty tacky. Then you come across some beautiful wooden boxes with some incredibly intricate patterns on it that make you wonder, how in the world do they do that?

Thankfully, here’s a video that shows you how in the world they do that from Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square.

It’s hard not to be amazed by a lot of things in this “behind the scenes” video about Hakone marquetry, originally developed in Kanagawa Prefecture, but loved throughut Japan. For one, we love how all the different colors occur naturally in the wood, meaning there is no staining or dyes used to achieve the effect.


It’s also super mathematical how the pieces of wood are combined together in order to create the designs and patterns.


However, what we loved most of all, was how he shaves off a thin slice of the design so that it’s like pasting down a paper decal.


Knowing just how these beautiful boxes are made makes us more inclined to look past the price and buy one. They will look stunning in any home and besides, we need somewhere to put all the kitschy Japanese knickknacks that we bought.

Shop information
Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square / 伝統工芸 青山スクエア
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka 8-1-22, Akasaka Ouji Building 1st floor
東京都港区赤坂8-1-22 赤坂王子ビル 1F
Open 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

Source, images: YouTube/伝統工芸 青山スクエア