Just returned from a day trip to Shigaraki, one of Japan’s oldest and most famous pottery towns. Besides being famous for beautiful wood-fired pots and massive storage jars, it’s also well known for the Tanuki, a mythical creature who drinks a lot of sake. Shigaraki is starting to feel more like Tanuki Town than an ancient pottery village. They are just everywhere…..tribes of them…. carrying around their little sake bottles.

Pottery is a natural part of the landscape here… you can see many installations, even at the local shrine.  Also every home seems to have the sign of a potter inside.

Walking along, I find many old kilns, some deserted but many still producing.  These are the traditional Noborigama kilns of Shigaraki.  There are hundreds all over town.

Once you get on the back roads, the pottery village feel is still very much alive….

There is definitely an eclectic mix here, from funky installations to the big ol’ sake jugs, but this last image of the wood-fired flower vase is an example of the real style that makes Shigaraki famous.

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