Reframe Japan, Wabi-Sabi

Nata's Jasper ( 那谷の碧玉 )

Nata's Jasper ( 那谷の碧玉 ) in Japan

Nata is a town developed near the gate of Nata temple or Nata-dera (那谷寺, なたでら) located in Komatsu city in southwestern Ishikawa Prefecture in the Hokuriku region of Japan.

According to legend, Emperor Kazan (花山法皇), who is respected as a restorer of the pilgrimage through 33 temples of Kansai, considered Nata-dera to be a temple concentrated from 33 Kannon temples in Kansai and therefore, its name is from temple number 1, Nachi(那智) and temple number 33, Tanigumi(谷汲).(“Na” is from Nachi and “Ta” is from Tanigumi.) By the way, the pilgrimage to the 33 Kannon temples in Kansai is a typical pilgrimage in Japan as the pilgrimage to the 88 temples in Shikoku.

So, Nata-dera is prosperous since visiting to Nata-dera is considered as the same meaning of the pilgrimage to the 33 Kannon temples. And also, Nata-dera is famous area for underground resources, such as opal, agate, and jasper.


Nata and surrounding areas in Komatsu City were the largest area for jasper mining in ancient times as Yayoi Period and Kofun (Tumulus) Period. The people at that time processed underground resources into jewelry by processing skill and techniques.

The quality is very high and products were distributed among regional clans and powerful individuals across the country.

The skills and techniques were remarkable and it is believed that they are taken over by the current Komatsu's creative arts and crafts.


Back to the story, I would like to talk about Nata's jasper.

To compare Nata's jasper and jaspers mined from other places in Japan, such as Nishiki-ishi from Aomori area(the northeastern portion of Honshu) and Toki-ishi from Gifu and Aich area(in the middle of Honshu), I got a photo of Nata's jasper:

Of course, it should be rude to judge Nata's jasper by only one sample since jasper should be having large individual differences. So, the following should be just one opinion from one sample.

From Nata's jasper, I feel dynamism from blended tones and rough surface. This Nata's jasper seems to be not so plenty silica contained and its surface seems to be rough than plenty one. And blended color seems to be bold.

Nata's jasper

By the dynamism, Nata's jasper has more presence than others. And it is good characteristic of ornamental stone.

Nata's jasper

Nata's jasper

Conchoidal fracture which is one of characteristics of japer can be found:
Nata's jasper

Nata's jasper

One day I would like to visit Nata area, however, by Komatsu city Ordinance for the Protection of Cultural Properties, bringing out underground resources illegally from Komatsu city is prohibited.

Just taking photos and remaining in memories seem to be the best.

Or, stone collectors will have greater interest in Komatsu if infrastructure is enhanced such as Komatsu city official mineral shop will be made.

By the way, Komatsu Ltd. was named after the city of Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture, where the company was founded in 1921.