Nambu cast ironware is produced in Morioka City and Mizusawa, Oshu City. In 1975, it was designated as a traditional craftwork. “Nambu” refers to the Nambu clan, who built Morioka Castle about 400 years ago. The Nambu lords made numerous efforts towards the cultural development of their fief, inviting artisans from Kyoto and promoting the tea ceremony. As a result, the production of cast ironware for the tea ceremony began to develop in the area, with all the necessary materials readily available locally: iron sand, river sand, clay, lacquer, charcoal, etc. The cast ironware of Mizusawa was originally developed about 900 years ago, by the Fujiwara clan who developed the Golden Culture.
Due to its complex production process, Nambu cast ironware requires superior craftsmanship; for example, there are 68 steps in making a standard Nambu iron kettle. It is said that it takes at least 15 years to become a decent ironware maker, and 40 years to become a master craftsman.
There are many Nambu cast ironware products. Many are kitchen items, such as kettles, pots, and pans; others include streetlamps, monuments, and wind chimes. The wind chimes in particular are popular summer items whose clear sounds seem to cool down the hot, muggy air. New designs and colors have been developed; vividly colored products are gaining popularity throughout Japan as well as abroad, especially in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United States, and China. New products that match today's lifestyles, such as the dutch oven, are also constantly being developed. You can even have your own original item made. And best of all, Nambu cast ironware is eco-friendly. As long as you dry the ironware after each use, it will last more than 100 years; even if it breaks, it can be recast.