Kurashiki (Okayma) was the Edo Shogunate’s (Government ‘s) demesne in the Edo period. There are many merchant Kuras (or warehouses) with white walls reserved around the Kurashiki River. The area is designated as Kurashiki Bikan Chiku (Kurashiki beautiful sight area) by the government.
Sakatsu-Yaki was started,by Suekichi Okamoto, one of the richest merchants, using local good clay in the early Meiji Era here.
Onta-Yaki is produced at Hita City in Oita prefecture. The Onta Village is one of the most unique villages in many ways, consisting ten (10) potter’s families only. Surprisingly, no modern machinery is used in the pottery making process.
Once we walk into the village, we notice nostalgically rhythmical sounds from a device called “Karausu” or (Chinese mortar) powered by water of the river here and there. This is used to pound and to make fine clay for pottery.
The Onta-Yaki was started in the mid Edo Shogunate, by an assistance of Koishiwara-Yaki’s potters and handed down within the limited potters.
Koedo (Little Edo) –Kawagoe (Saitama) is a sight-seeing town with the culture and aroma of Edo era, situated at only less than one hour train ride from Tokyo. There are many historical merchant houses and buildings which are still actively in use.
The main zone for tourists to visit will be “Old storehouse zone” where many old storehouse merchant houses are lined up and selling various goods in them, and “Toki no Kane” (or Tower of Time Bell) which still tells time in Kawagoe. Another area is “Kashiya Yokocho” (or Penny Candy Alley) with 22 traditional style Japanese candy stores with nostalgic taste of days gone by.
Photos : Old Storehouse Marchant House Zone, Tower of Time Bell, Penny Cndy Alley
Tsuboya-Yaki is unique pottery of Okinawa prefecture, the southernmost prefecture. The traditional technique is not different from that of the mainland of Japan but the decorations and colors are uniquely outstanding.
Tsuboya-Yaki is originated in the 17th century, by the former Ryukyu Kingdom under influence of the Satsuma clan. At the time, the Kingdom integrated the local production centers into Tsuboya (current Naha city) to increase roofing tile. This is the reason why Tsuboya-Yaki is being produced at Yachimun (pottery in Okinawa dialect) Dori (street) near a center of Naha for 300years and more.
Due to emitted smoke in firing pottery, Jiro Kinjo, a living national treasure moved to Yomitan-son, the center area of the mainland of Okinawa in 1972. Then, many potters followed and developed a new pottery village, Yachimun No Sato (village). Here are Yomitan Tsuboya-Yaki and Yomitanzan-Yaki now.
Photos : Yachimun Dori guide map, typical Tsuboya-Yaki shop, A climbing kiln at Yachimun No Sato
March 3rd is Hina Matsuri, or the Doll’s Festival for girls. We display a set of dolls and pray for the sound growth of girls in the family.
Our Konosu-City is famous for a major Hina-dolls’ production center from the Edo Shogunate period. About 1,830 dolls are displayed on the 31 Hina-dan ( or stairs) in a pyramid, which is 7m (about 23 ft) high at this time of the year. It is amazing display!!
The Tableware Festival is under way in Tokyo Baseball Dome. This might be the biggest ceramics exhibition in Japan. Visitors enjoy varieties of pottery and porcelain products by potters and artists gathered all over Japan.
We would like to extend the best wishes from Online Sake Cup Shop to our customers ! May the New Year bring only good things to all of you !
(Sake cups from the back left to the front right : Mino-, Koito-, Tanba-, Seto-, Iga-Yaki)
The last Yakimono (Ceramics) exhibition, Dome Yakimono World for 2016 was held at Nagoya Dome the last month. Many visitors enjoyed interesting Yakimono of all kinds displayed by potters attended all over the Japan. We were not exception. This kind of exhibition is quite convenience to encounter new potters and their works in addition to meeting many acquainted potters.
After the event, we feel that the year is fast drawing to a close.
Many ceramic work festivals are held all over Japan all the year around. They are very joyful especially for pottery and porcelain lovers.
Here is “Miyagi Kura (storehouse) Ceramic Festival” held at Murata-town, Miyagi Prefecture October 14th to 16th . Potters from the northern mainland (Tohoku and Kanto) display and sell their proud works at the unused merchant storehouses, which were built in the end of Edo era. We can enjoy striking works and chats with potters under the nostalgic atmosphere.
In the summer, there are historical festivals at many places in Japan. Kumagaya close to my place is not exception. It is called as “Uchiwa (fan) mature (festival)” because many stores and companys here give their originally fans away to audience attending the festival. Historically, it dates back to the 18th century to celebrate Kumagaya Yasaka Shrine which is a subordinate shrine of the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto.
We enjoy the 12 floats decorated with ornaments and flowers and dolls and loaded with people (Children in many cases) beating drums and other instruments.