Asakusa is a well-known sightseeing spot in Tokyo, which is reminiscent of the old Japan .Kaminarimon or “Thunder Gate” is very famous as a landmark of its huge red lantern. On either side, there are two large statues, Fujin and Raijin or “Wind and Thunder deities.
There is Nakamise Shppping Street between Kaminarimon and Sensoji Temple where we can buy lots of interesting souvenirs.
The Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world is 20 minute walk from the Kaminarimon.
One of Japanese traditional arts, fireworks displays are held all over the Japan
at this time of the year. We enjoyed amazing sizes and numbers of fireworks at the Konosu Fireworks Display on the dark sky October 8, 2017. One of the biggest fireworks was “4 Shaku Dama (or Ball)”, about 1 feet or 120cm in Diameter. It was about 800 meters across when it explodes.
Mumyoi-Yaki is unique pottery formed with Mumyoi red clay, which is produced at only Sado gold mine and fired at high temperature. A the Ed period, it was said that the clay was used as blood-forming medicine because of its iron-rich content. Only potters living in the Sado Iskand are eligible to use the red clay.
The Aikawa area has many sightseeing spots such as remains of the gold mine and gold refinery, a magistrate’s office and so on. Long time ago, the Sado Island was isolated and accommodated many criminals for gold mining.
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)