Mashiko is a small town in south east Tochigi that is famous for its pottery. There are hundreds of potters living and working here and almost 400 different styles in this one small town in Tochigi.
I’ve written about it before, but each time you go, you discover more and more and its charm becomes more evident. The people are super friendly and willing to stop and chat to explain something to you..
Mashiko was the home and workshop of a Japanese Potter called Shoji Hamada who was designated a Japanese living Legend in 1955 for his work. His art and status is credited widely as lifting the profile of Mashiko and its pottery. There is a ceramic museum in town that displays some of his work and history.There are 2 pottery fairs each year in Mashiko, one around Golden week and the other in early November, both have been held in the town since the 1960’s. Each year around 800,000 people visit the Mashiko pottery fairs.
This visit coincided with the November pottery fair, which is held over 3 days near the beginning of November. ets are lined with stalls, every nook and cranny either becomes a parking spot or a stall. Hundreds of stalls throughout the town sell every style of pottery you can imagine from a few hundred yen a piece, to hundreds of thousands.
Although it is predominantly pottery, there are also many small craft stalls, selling local made items as well, plus lots of food stalls, where the food is made while you wait and is cheap and tasty.
Mashiko is also famous for its climbing kilns or “Noborigama” which consist of several small connected kilns climbing up the hillside, local Japanese red pine is used in these kilns.
The Ceramic museum also has an example of a climbing kiln in its grounds.
The entire main street is pottery shops and stalls, it’s pretty impossible not to buy something.
Be on the lookout look for the Giant Tanuki at the bottom of the main street, there are masses of stalls in that area, with some amazing items. Pottery classes are also available in town and in several of the potteries, you can get a demonstration from a local potter.
Mashiko Pottery Fair website Click here