Experience Japanese ceramic-making and painting here. Home of Shigaraki ware, one of the six oldest potteries in Japan.
Shigaraki is a ceramic town of Koka City situated in the southern part of Shiga, and known as the home of Shigaraki ware. It has one of the six oldest kilns in Japan and is known historically for its good clay. Shigaraki, (the name is said to have derived from "shigeru ki" meaning woody, dense mountain), sits 300 meters above sea level. Shigaraki ware is said to have begun when tiles were made in 742 for the construction of Shigaraki-no-miya Palace. Nowadays you can see Shigaraki raccoon dogs all over the town, and when you see them you cannot help a smile.
At Soto-en, a Shigaraki pottery, you can see the largest 'nobori-gama' in Japan. Nobori-gama is a step-like kiln constructed on a slope. The fire is set from the lowest compartment and when the temperature in that compartment reaches a certain level, the fire is set in the next compartment followed by another. Depending on the number of compartments, the kiln is kept alight for seven to nine days. After three days and nights of cooling down, the pottery wares are finally brought out. You can experience making and painting Shigaraki ware in Shigaraki.
The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park has several museums and ceramic ware halls, as well as cultural facilities, such as the Exhibition Hall of Industrial Ceramics and the Institute of Ceramic Studies. The Ceramics Festival held every summer is popular with ceramics lovers looking for lucky finds.
[Rail] 2h 20min to Maibara Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. 1h 15 min from Maibara via Kusatsu to Kibukawa Station by JR Tokaido/Kusatsu Line, and 25 min from Kibukawa to Shigaraki Station by Shigaraki Kogen Railway.
[Rail] 1h 20 min to Kibukawa Station by JR Tokaido Line (Kusatsu Line), and 25 min from Kibukawa to Shigaraki Station by Shigaraki Kogen Railway.