In such a fast-paced and ever-changing world, it's comforting to know that some things have remained the same. Unchanged by technology or convenience, certain items and the methods with which they are crafted connect us to the past. Takazawa Candle has been making exceptional traditional sumac candles by hand in Nanao, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan, using a process that has remained the same since 1892. This means that 130 years of culture and history go into every candle produced. Takazawa wishes to connect you to the tranquil mountains of Japan—a place where time crawls and the simple but powerful flicker of a candle's flame can transport you back in time. Anyone burning a Takazawa candle in 2021 is reliving the same experience as someone burning one in 1892.
Takazawa candles are unlike any other candles made today. Their unique plant-based waxes are created from the Japanese Sumac tree, rice bran, and rapeseeds. Most unique among these waxes is sumac wax. In sixteenth-century Japan, beeswax was not readily available. Soft and malleable sumac wax was an ideal substitute, and it continues to be used today by candle makers like Takazawa who use traditional materials in their products. Sumac wax produces a candle that is vegan, completely plant based, odorless, and free from any dyes or additives.
Takazawa Candle is based in the port city of Nanao, on the Noto peninsula, in the Ishikawa prefecture of central Japan. Protruding into the Sea of Japan, the Noto peninsula is approximately a six-hour drive from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. A secluded paradise, it is known for its breathtaking coast and slow pace of life.
Takazawa makes each candle by hand in small batches. This painstaking process begins every day at 5:00 a.m. by melting wax over a natural fire made of local thinning wood. The uniquely hollow wicks, specifically designed to create a brighter and larger flame, are then hand rolled using a fibrous, traditionally handmade paper called washi. Unlike their cotton counterparts, these thick, hand-rolled washi wicks burn odorless, clean, and with very little flickering.
After the wicks are placed into a metal or wooden mold, wax is then poured over and left to set. Each candle is then removed from its respective mold and is finished by hand with a carving knife. Every candle produced by Takazawa receives a level of attention and detail that only a 130-year-old company can achieve. They are truly works of art.
Sumac wax—Sumac wax is a natural vegetable “wax” derived from the fruit of several varieties of the Sumac tree, which is common in many areas of Japan and China. The resulting wax is pale in color, odorless, and has a low burning point. By the sixteenth century, sumac wax would become the standard material for candle making in Japan.
Rapeseed wax—This vegetable-based wax is made by extracting the oil of rapeseeds. The resulting oil is then hydrogenated into a solid wax. Rapeseed oil is sustainable, slow burning, and odorless.
Rice bran wax is a vegetable-based wax created by extracting oils from the husks of rice grains. The wax has a high burning point and is often used as a thickening agent, among many other uses. Rice bran wax is sustainable, vegan, and odorless.
Washi paper is traditional paper made exclusively by hand in Japan for centuries. A strong, fibrous paper, washi is used for everything from candles to tape.
There is something to be said about dedicating one's life to a craft that has been passed down through generations. Therein exists a prideful connection between craftsman and product that can only be forged with time and appreciation. We at Boston General Store truly appreciate the culture and history of these unique, traditional candles and are proud to share these items with you.
View our selection of Takazawa candles and accessories here.