/lacquering tool
Refined urushi
Lacquering kit
Jitsuke material
Filter paper
Polishing article
Maki-e tool
Hake brush
Metallic leaf/powder
Wood body

Kato Kohe Shoten

478 Matsubara Nakano-cho, Matsubara-dori Tominokoji Nishi-iru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8063

Phone: 075-351-1932・7983
Fax: 075-351-7966
Refinement of urushi, sale of urushi and lacquering tool
Closed: Sun., public holiday, 2nd and 4th Sat.
Open 9AM-6PM on weekdays
9AM-4PM on 1st, 3rd, 5th Sat.

What is urushi?

Refinement of urushi

Urushi is a natural lacquer, a sap of the urushi tree. A sap oozes out from the grooves carved on the trunk which is collected in a bucket little by little with a spatula. At this stage it is called arami-urushi which contains barks and wood chips. Urushi would need to be refined to be used as a lacquer or a glue.
Barks and wood chips are filtered out from arami-urushi through the filtration process. After the filtration it is called ki-urushi which can be used for undercoating and fuki-urushi technique. Then it will be stirred at room temperature (nayashi process) and heated and stirred again (kurome process) which makes urushi amber-colored smooth suki-urushi.

Arami-urushi produced in Japan is very rare and is mostly imported from various parts of China. Characteristics of urushi differs by the area produced. Also the state of urushi changes according to the temperature and humidity.

Refinement process is very important to enhance the quality of urushi and make it usable as a lacquer.


The main steps of refinement process




Making urushi matched to a request of the user

Each urushi has different characteristics; how quickly it dries, how sticky it is, etc.. Refinement of urushi is all about making urushi that matches a request of the user.

Recently requirement of the quality has become stricter as quantity demanded got smaller. Our motto is to make urushi best matched to customer demand regardless of the quantity.


Strength of urushi: Human and environment-friendly reproducible
natural lacquer

Urushi, Japanese lacquer has many strengths. It is a sap collected from urushi tree, that has been used as a glue, antiseptic, and coating material since the prehistoric times. It is an only painting material that dries without a solvent. It dries well on a rainy day as it forms a thick layer of polymer by the oxygen in the moisture (H2O) of the air. Thus does not pollute the air.
Urushi is recently gaining popularity as human and environment friendly natural lacquer. Unlike fossile fuel it is reproducible when the root of the tree is preserved. Also it is very suited for interior materials, unlike formalin, as it does not affect human health.
Urushi has been used for all kinds of Kyoto's traditional handicrafts such as lacquerware, buddhist altar, ritual article,spun gold/silver, Yuzen pattern, folding fan, Zogan inlay work, sword sheath, and traditional Japanese musical instrument.
Recently more and more people are enjoyng lacquering as a hobby for the pleasure of using the trays, bowls, dishes, teacup saucers they painted themselves. Some people also try maki-e technique. Kintsugi (repair of cracked ceramic) is also very popular. It is our pleasure to support people get familiar with urushi.             
(Excerpt from an article by Jiro Kato "Urushi, Toryo to shiteno yosa", "Kogei", Kyoto Kogei Kenkyu-kai newsletter, 1999.4.1 (Vo8l.3 No.2))


Urushi bowls beautifully gift wrapped by our customer. She put six bowls in a basket and decorated as a Christmas gift for her family in the U.S. (Dec 15 2015)

Urushi tray displayed by our customer in a perfect match with the western style interior. (Dec 1 2015)