Protecting an Ancient Art

Gobara Lacquerware Museum

maniwa city, okayama prefecture, visitwestjapan
Photographer | Takuma Kimura


Gobara lacquerware has been produced on the Hiruzen Plateau for over six hundred years, nearly going back to the time when a refined version of the art form was introduced to Japan from China during the Tang Dynasty. 

Lacquerware production requires a combination of three things, namely, wood, tree sap (lacquer) and artistry. In the case of Gobara lacquerware, both the wood and the sap from mature regional chestnut trees are the materials of choice. The beauty of each piece is achieved through the expression of the experience and knowledge of individual artisans who have practiced the craft for years.

Through the support of the world-renowned biochemical company Hayashibara, the Gobara Lacquerware Museum in Maniwa City has continued to promote the production of stunning pieces which are crafted from  locally-sourced materials.

Day-long lacquerware-making experiences are possible with advanced reservation. Guided by local craftspeople you will be taken through the entire process, from selecting trees for sap extraction and wood selection to coloring the lacquer and applying it to the object of your choice. At the end of the workshop you will have a personalized souvenir that was crafted by your own hands as a finishing touch to your initiation to this ancient art.

About the Area

Maniwa City is Okayama Prefecture’s ambassador to the Sanin region of the Chugoku area of West Japan. The Hiruzen Plateau and its surrounding mountains are part of a chain of ancient volcanoes that extend to Mt. Daisen and down to the coast.

Tottori Prefecture’s special quality is found in the interplay between the mountains and the sea throughout its entire length and width. The Japan Sea is always to the north and Mt. Daisen anchors the entire landscape.

Access: Take the JR Hakubi Line from JR Okayama Station to JR Ebi Station. The Gobara Lacquerware Museum is about 25 minutes by taxi from JR Ebi Station.

Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee