Ceramics Destinations in Kyoto

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

Kawai Kanjiros’ House

Climbing Kiln

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.

Interior of Kawai Kanjiro's house

Kawai Kanjiro was a key player in Soetsu Yanangi’s “Mingei” movement1 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 Yellin2 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