Tochigi

The Mashiko Pottery Village and Mashiko Sankokan

Immerse Yourself in Ceramics in one of Japan's Foremost Pottery Towns

Mashiko-yaki, which evolved in the 19th century, is one of Japan's most representative styles of pottery. Mashiko is a rural town roughly 3 hours by train from Tokyo, and the home of around 380 kilns and 50 ceramics shops.

If you want to know what Mashiko-yaki is, the first place you should visit is Mashiko Sankokan (the Mashiko Collection Reference Museum). You can see a collection of pottery, ceramics and lacquer works from all over the world there. Those works were assembled by the Japanese potter Shoji Hamada, who moved to this town in 1924 and devoted his life to popularizing Mashiko-yaki with the British potter Bernard Leach. This will give you a fair idea of how those pieces influenced what would eventually become Mashiko-yaki. Hamada's workshop and many of his own works are also on display.

There are several places in town where you can try your hand at making your own pottery. One of them is the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art/Ceramic Art Messe Mashiko, where the 150-year-old house Shoji Hamada used to work in has been reconstructed.

The road from Mashiko Station to Mashiko Sankokan is lined with shops selling Mashiko-yaki goods, and there are plenty of inviting cafés and galleries as well. Another attraction is the Saimyoji temple with its three-storied pagoda.

The pottery fairs held at the end of April to the beginning of May and around November 3rd are an excellent chance to look at lots of pottery at once. You may also have the opportunity to meet the artists themselves. On Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays the Moka Railway runs steam trains, so buy an advance ticket and enjoy the unusual ride!

Mashiko Sankokan
ADDRESS 3388 Mashiko, Mashiko Town, Haga-gun, Tochigi Prefecture
TEL 0285-72-5300
ACCESS 45 minutes by Toya bus from Utsunomiya Station on the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line and the Tohoku Main Line. The total travel time from central Tokyo is around 3 hours.
You can also take the Tohoku Main Line from JR Ueno Station to Oyama, change to the Mito Line to Shimodate, and then take the Moka Railway Line to Mashiko Station. From there, it is about 10 minutes by taxi or 35 minutes on foot to the center of town.
OPEN 9:30 - 17:00
CLOSE Mondays (Open on public holidays, and closed the following day instead.), December 28 – January 4.
WEB Mashiko SankokanMashiko Town Tourist Association
Mashiko Sankokan