Mashiko is south of me, but still in Tochigi it is known as a production center of pottery both in Japan and globally.In the middle of the 19th century, Keizaburo Otsuka found potter’s clay at Ohtsu-sawa and built a kiln to bake it, which was the origin of Mashiko ceramics.
Later at the beginning of the 20th century, a ceramist, Shoji Hamada, built a kiln in Mashiko. Since then the number of potters there has been increasing, and it now there are over 380.
There is a gallery/Museum of local pottery, you can see the works of Shoji Hamada and others as well as examples of modern ceramists. You can also see his house and how he lived as part of the museum..
You know when you have arrived at the Mashiko Pottery Sales Center in Jonaizaka Street because of the giant ceramic tanuki standing on the corner.
This is like a ceramic supermarket normally, but during the fair it becomes a mass of stalls. I love this fair, the pottery is amazing, the people really lovely and its an easy drive from home..
The pottery from the region is called Mashiko-yaki. In particular it is famous for its climbing kilns or “Noborigama,” traditional earthen kilns that climb upwards. These kilns take advantage of the fact that heat rises. Simple and rustic in style, the main glazes are a clear wood ash glaze, a white rice husk ash glaze, black and kaki (persimmon), sometimes decorated with enamel red, yellow and green.
Thanks to Wikipedia for background