Ceramics Destinations in Kyoto

The following are worth considering if you are in Kyoto and interested in Ceramics.

Kawai Kanjiros' House

The huge climbing kiln at Kawai Kanjiro's House

We have visited this beautiful old merchants house with its huge climbing kiln several times and always found it rewarding. The enormous climbing kiln and beautifully preserved house are worth spending some time exploring.

Kawai Kanjiro was a key player in Soetsu Yanangi's "Mingei" movement 1 in partnership Shoji Hamada, Kenichi Tomimoto and Bernard Leach.

"The term mingei (folk art) was coined by Soetsu Yanagi in 1926 to refer to common crafts that had been brushed aside and overlooked by the industrial revolution. In the wake of te great tide

More photos of Kawai's House are here

Kyoto Ceramics Centre

Kyoto Ceramics Center is a two-story shop that displays the ceramics made by Kyoto potters. The work is all locally made and an excellent example of the regional talent.

Getting there

The Kyoto Ceramic Center is located on Gojo-zaka station enroute to Kiyomizu temple. Bus numbers 80, 100, 202, 206 and 207 will take you to Gojo-zaka. Very close to Kawai Kanjiro's House.

Nomura Art Museum

"Established in 1984, the museum exhibits the collection of the late Tokushichi Nomura. This private museum is located near Nanzen - ji Temple. The focus of the collection is on the tea ceremony and Noh, two art forms which Nomura particularly loved. The collection includes some 1,300 works of arts, including paintings, Noh costumes, Noh masks,among which are Important Cultural Properties and Important Art Objects." Welcome to Kyoto

When we visited a selection of tea bowls from the collection was on display. Including my personal favourite whose name is Fierce Tiger (below)

Tea Bowl - Fierce Tiger

Tea Bowl - Fierce Tiger

Raku Museum

The exhibits on display were definitely worth a look, be sure to also watch the video in the entrance room. In it, the current master, Raku Kichizaemon XV discusses his work and the history of the family. Includes interesting footage of the firing process.

Where are these places ?

See below for a Google Map for the these destinations (The Kyoto Ceramics Centre does not list a precise address and is not shown accurately. It is quite close to Kawai's house).

View Kyoto Ceramics Tour in a larger map

The Japan National Tourism Organisation has also produced a valuable Travel Guide to Ceramic Arts and Crafts.

The redoubtable Robert Yellin 2 has also produced a valuable list of Kyoto ceramics museums and shops

  1. see Soetsu Yanagi The Unknown Craftsman ↩︎

  2. Robert's Facebook feed provides a continuous source of interesting japanese ceramics news and images ↩︎


Fairfield Horseshoe

We had a long and rewarding day walking the Fairfield Horseshoe in the hills around Ambleside. It was mid September 2011 and the weather blessed us with clear skies and warm temperatures which added up to fantastic views.

Flickr gallery


Visit to hepburn springs

We're just back from a few days at Hepburn Springs in the Victorian Spa country. Its a beautiful area, quite cold at this time of year but still a rewarding place to stay and unwind.

We wanted to stay in Australia's only Ryokan (a traditional Japanese Inn) - Shizuka. It was extremely peaceful and served beautiful Japanese food, although the futon was starting to feel a bit hard towards the end of our stay!.

Hepburn Springs has a lively cafe, the Red Star, an eclectic general store and an excellent gallery, the Chameleon. I was particularly taken by some subversive prints by Nick Mau and Carole Porter, eg one work sent up the absurdity of carbon offsets for such crazy things as tourist flights to the moon, in the colour palette of soviet era propaganda.
We also ate at a funky restaurant called Cliffy's that was into slow food, most of the nights offering being variants of mediterranean slow cooked meat and veg combinations. Apparently the menu varies according to what the farmer brings in which is just how we like it. Very nice, especially washed down with the local organic pinot noir from the Captains Creek winery.

In nearby Trentham is the delicious Red Beard bakery which we visited a few times for their beautiful sourdough bread cooked in one of the few Scotch ovens remaining in Australia.

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Sydney, Australia