Wakasa, Mikatakaminaka District, Fukui Prefecture, Japan
Wakasa-Nuri LacquerwareIn the southern part of the prefecture, the Wakasa region is acclaimed for the exquisite quality of its crafts. Wakasa lacquerware—and more specifically, Wakasa chopsticks—have been a coveted collector’s item for over four centuries. A single pair of chopsticks can take many months to create. Consider that layer upon layer of lacquer is meticulously applied, given ample time to dry, and then carved and polished to perfection. Each artisan has his or her own style, but Wakasa lacquerware is renowned for integrating eggshells, gold leaf, seashells, and pine needles into the impossibly ornate designs. They’re designed to be both beautiful and functional, so grab a pair and head to the nearest sushi joint.