News, updates, and stories on Tortoise, our artists, and artwork

Yosegi Mosaic Magic

The folk craft of Yosegi was  founded over 200 years ago in a town called Hakone- just west of Tokyo – during Japan’s Edo period.  We have just received a selection of Yosegi ‘komono’ boxes made by the craftsman, Ota Ken, which we are now featuring at our Tortoise Gallery.


A lengthy process of binding different colored wood and using a special plane to slice off thin sheets, create the box’s unique geometric design.


The mosaic appears on the lid, as well as underneath and inside the box, so you can enjoy this beautiful handcraft from all angles.


Surprisingly not a single drop of dye is used in the process of Yosegi.  Instead over 10 varieties of trees that are found in the region can be found in each piece creating its colorful appearance.

Yosegi close up

In our front building, at the Tortoise General Store , Yosegi apples and containers have been a popular item among our customers for quite some time.

These Yosegi apples and small containers use a different technique from the ‘komono’ boxes, and are handmade by the craftsman, Kanazashi.


Kanazashi is considered one of the premier Yosegi craftsman and his pieces are all hand-whittled into beautiful shapes – like apples, cups, and boxes of varying sizes.  IMG_6455

The price for these pieces below from left to right:

$88 (small apple 2”x 2.5”), $88 (small apple 2” x 2.5”), $128 (large apple 3” x 2.5”), $95 (ring container 2.25” x 1.25”)


If you are interested in purchasing any of these pieces, or have any questions, please call us at 310-314-8448 Mon through Sat from 10 am to 6 pm and Sun from 12 pm to 6 pm, or email us at hello@tortoiselife.com