On April 18, 2012 Noriko Fukuda drove us to Mashiko. It is one of the most famous pottery places in Japan. It appears as though the entire town sells pottery. The environment in the town is such that even foreigners have felt welcome to 'set up shop here'.
There was a lot of very interesting pottery and one could spend a lot of money in a place like this. It is not transportable as it is quite heavy or I would use it in Canada. No two pieces are exactly alike. Each is a piece of art yet the vast majority is fully functional. We did buy two bowls which we are using to eat rice from.
We visited the place and museums set up by Shoji Hamada who initiated pottery in this town. The buildings are original buildings tranported from their original locations in and around Mashiko in the 1940's. He is deceased and his son to whom Noriko is speaking in one of the Picasa photographs is an old man. Many of the museum buildings are thatched roof buildings and both they and the 'tile' roofed buildings sustained a lot of damage from the 3/11 earthquake. One of the museum buildings has various pieces of art collected from around the world by the founders.
Many homes had stacks of firewood and multi-chambered clay kilns set up ready to fire pottery. Again there was extensive earthquake damage to many of the kilns. The kilns are invariably build on a gradual slope so that a fire can be built at the lower fire pit and the heat flows up through all the chambers.
More photographs can be seen on Picasa at Mashiko Pottery Town.