Okayama, Chugoku

The old-fashioned art of hand-kneaded ceramics making, in the hometown of Bizen-yaki pottery.

Bizen is a city of pottery facing the Katakami Bay in southeastern Okayama. The city is known as the hometown of Bizen-yaki, one of the six types of ancient Japanese pottery styles. Bizen-yaki is more than 1,000 years old, and is the oldest among the six ancient pottery styles. The old name of Okayama, Bizen, is retained in the name of the pottery.

The town bustles with Bizen-yaki pottery and ceramic shops. Bizen-yaki uses neither glazing nor painting. The flames in the kiln change the patterns on this simple pottery, and no two pieces are alike. There is a workshop where you can experience making your own piece by modeling the clay by hand without using a potter's wheel.

The Bizen Ceramic Art Museum displays Bizen-yaki pieces and materials of the ceramic artists who live in this town. You can learn about the mechanism of the kiln at the Bizen Provincial History Museum. Many restaurants serve food in Bizen-yaki dishes. You can enjoy them with your palate and eyes.

Here, too, is the Shizutani School. The first school for the general public in Japan was established in the 17th century. The original lecture hall, built in the 18th century, still stands and has been designated a national treasure. The roof tiles are, of course, Bizen-yaki.


From Tokyo:
[Air] 1h 15 min from Haneda to Okayama Airport.
[Rail] 3h 20 min from Tokyo to Okayama Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line, and 35 min from Okayama to Inbe Station by JR Akou Line.
From Osaka:
[Rail] 45 min from Shin-Osaka to Okayama by Shinkansen.

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