Japanese marquetry Yosegi from Hakone

Hakone marquetry, behind the scenes of exceptional art

Hakone’s Yosegi marquetry is a form of Japanese craftsmanship that involves the creation of intricate geometric patterns using colored wooden blocks. This technique is particularly associated with the Hakone region, located in the Kanagawa prefecture in Japan. Hakone’s Yosegi marquetry is renowned for its beauty, precision and sophistication.

The history of Hakone’s Yosegi marquetry dates back to the 17th century. Around this time, local craftsmen began to use marquetry techniques to create decorative objects such as tea boxes, pipe cases and screens. The Hakone region was well suited for the production of these objects due to its proximity to forests of cypress, cedar and chestnut trees, which provided the necessary materials.

Hakone’s Yosegi marquetry is notable for its method of creating intricate geometric patterns from small blocks of wood of different colors. The blocks are first cut into thin sheets, which are then assembled into various patterns. The most common patterns are stripes, chevrons, diamonds and triangles, but a variety of more complex shapes can be created.

The complexity of Hakone’s Yosegi marquetry is such that it can take weeks or even months to create a single object. The craftsmen work with great precision to cut the wooden blocks into thin strips and assemble them into harmonious patterns. Precision is especially important so that the edges of the wooden blocks line up perfectly, creating a smooth, even surface.

Hakone’s Yosegi marquetry is used to create a variety of objects, including tea canisters, trays, screens, jewelry boxes, and pipe cases. These objects are often decorated with traditional motifs such as flowers, birds, fish and landscapes. The colors used in Hakone’s Yosegi marquetry are often shades of brown, red, yellow, and green, but brighter colors can also be used.

Hakone’s Yosegi marquetry is prized for its beauty and timeless aesthetic. Objects created using this technique often have a soft texture that is pleasant to the touch thanks to the careful finishing that is given to the surface. Craftsmanship is also valued for its durability and strength, as the items created are often sturdy and can last for decades or even centuries.


If you want to know more about this traditional Japanese art, we invite you to watch the video below. We find there all the steps mentioned above.

Find lots of traditional Yosegi products made in Hakone here


Also find all our Hakone marquetry products on Nipponboutique!

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