Touring “Inami,” the Town of Wood Carving-1

Touring “Inami,” the Town of Wood Carving

Inami, located in Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture, has a historic streetscape with wood carvings everywhere. It’s a town of wood carvings that has been recognized as a Japanese Heritage Site. We’ll introduce you to spots where you can enjoy said wood carvings!

Let's Look for Wood Carvings While We Walk

Wood carvings can be seen everywhere on "Yokamachi Dori," known as Inami's main street. This street is lined with Inami carving workshops and souvenir shops. Therefore, you can watch the works in progress and admire the finished work in the workshop. Also, on this street, you can try your hand at wood carving under the guidance of a craftsman, so wouldn’t it be nice to have an experience that can only be found here?

It's a fun street to just walk around, as you can see many wooden carvings, such as cat sculptures on signboards, bus signs, and nameplates while walking along the cobblestones. Plus, there are hidden wooden carved cats of various shapes, so be sure to look for them everywhere, from below your feet to above your head!

After passing through Yokamachi, you will continue to Inami Bestuin Zuisenji Temple, where you can see the best sculptures in Japan. Let's take a close look at the spectacular Inami carvings at Zuisenji Temple!

Japan's Best Sculptures in Zuisenji Temple

Inamibetsuin Zuisenji Temple is the temple where Inami carving originated, and Inami carvings, which are said to be Japan's best traditional crafts with carving techniques, can be seen everywhere. It was built over 600 years ago, and the current main hall was rebuilt in 1885. It’s one of the largest wooden temples in Japan and one of the largest wooden temples in the Hokuriku region.

The delicate yet impressive wood carvings on the large front gate and main temple building are captivating and made entirely of zelkova. The main temple building, built with several sculptures that show craftsmanship in every detail, is decorated with Inami carvings, which are said to boast the best carving and technique in Japan and lend a solemn atmosphere.

Then, from April to May, the Japanese wisteria flowers on the temple grounds bloom, and you can see the beautiful wisteria trellis. The mix of temples and wisteria flowers creates a fantastic atmosphere and further enhances the beauty while attracting visitors. There are various impressive carvings such as dragons and lions, so please take your time to observe them.

Next, let's head to the "Inami Wood Carving Composite Hall," where Inami sculpture works were collected, in about five minutes by car!

Admire the Works of Inami Sculpture

If you want to see Inami carvings to their fullest, please come to Inami Wood Carving Composite Hall.

The building itself has an appearance that gives off the impression of art, and when you step inside, you can smell the pleasant scent of wood. Inside the building, hundreds of Inami sculptures are on display, including wooden lion heads and Tenjin statues, as well as abstract Objet d'art. Cats and other small animals may be hiding in unexpected places, so please look carefully and try to find them.

The works on display are delicately and beautifully finished, and you’ll be impressed by the high level of skill of the craftsmen. There are some special pieces among them, including guitars with engravings that give them a luxurious feel. These are real guitars you can actually play.

There are many wood carving items for sale near the entrance. Also, there’s a gacha-gacha machine containing a carved wooden "lion tag (amulet)" and a "discount ticket for admission to the Inami Sculpture General Hall," so please give it a try.

After fully enjoying the wood carvings in the building, you can take a walk-through Art Forest Park in front of the Inami Wood Carving Composite Hall, and you can also admire the sculptures while feeling the changing seasons.


Experience Inami with All Your Senses

If you are going to spend some time in Inami, stay at an inn where you can fully enjoy Inami carvings!

For accommodations, we recommend “Bed and Craft,” an inn where you can enjoy Inami carvings that shine with craftsmanship. It’s a private inn where you can enjoy cultural experiences such as Inami carving, and there are six inns that were created in collaboration with local artists and are limited to one group per day.

In every room, you can see detailed Inami carvings and traditional techniques, and you can experience them as if you were staying in a gallery. At Zuisenji Temple and the Inami Wood Carving Composite Hall, you will appreciate carved wooden ornaments and gate designs, but here you can enjoy Inami carvings that blend into your daily life. If you stay at Bed and Craft, you can also participate in a workshop where you can become an apprentice to an Inami craftsman.

At the craftsman's workshop, you can experience making carved wooden spoons and small plates while learning directly from the craftsmen. For those who are worried about production, there is no need to worry as the craftsmen will kindly teach you. You can gain the valuable experience of creating using Inami carving techniques, and you can take the spoons and small plates you made home with you, making them perfect as souvenirs from your stay in Inami. It’ll be a memorable experience.

Please try creating your own work that is.
 one of a kind. You can also enjoy a meal that allows you to enjoy the flavors of Toyama. Please enjoy a stay that can only be had here.

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