The city of Kanazawa produces about 99% of Japan's gold leaves and the traditional methods are still widely used there. People beat gold into extremely thin sheets, so thin that it will disappear if you rub it with your fingers. The thinned gold leaves are then used for handicrafts, such as vessels and ornaments, or decoration. In some cases, chefs even use it as an ingredient for various types of foods!
For more info check here: http://kougeihin.jp/
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Amazing Japanese gold leaf decoration technique