Traditional Japanese Crafts: The Complete Guide to Japanese Ceramics

There are many original types of ceramics that have come out of Japan, most of them classified as “Imari ware” or “Bizen ware.” However, they can be grouped into the even larger categories of “toki” (pottery) and “jiki” (porcelain), and each have their own characteristics. Different areas across Japan produce their own versions of ceramics, including Kutani ware, Satsuma ware, Hagi ware, Mino ware, Shigaraki ware, and Mashiko ware, all of them gaining popularity both within Japan and overseas. This article will introduce these ceramics, including their charms, history, and characteristics.

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The Difference Between Toki (Pottery) and Jiki (Porcelain)

Toki (Pottery)

Toki is made predominantly of clay and is fired at 700℃ - 1,300℃. After the final shape has been set, it may be painted with a glaze called “yuyaku,” which creates a glossy, multicolored finish on the surface of the clay. After firing, the glaze turns glass-like, and has waterproofing properties. There are also many toki pieces that are fired without the yuyaku glaze being applied.

Toki that have been fired after being glazed with yuyaku include Kasama ware (Kasama-Yaki) and Hagi ware (Hagi-Yaki), and toki that have been fired without yuyaku include Bizen ware (Bizen-Yaki) and Echizen ware (Echizen-Yaki).

It is important to remember that not just any clay can be used. For example, Kasama ware uses clay taken from the area spanning Mt. Tsukuba to the Kasama region (Ibaraki Prefecture), as its plasticity is perfect for molding. Similarly, Bizen ware uses clay that has been mined near the Katakami area of Bizen City in Okayama Prefecture. This iron-rich clay becomes a reddish-brown color when fired, and the texture and appearance can vary greatly depending on the properties and composition.

Jiki (Porcelain)

Unlike toki, jiki is made up of crushed pottery stone such as that pictured above (picture: Izumiyama Quarry, the site of a mine where pottery stone used for Imari-Arita-Yaki was excavated). It is fired at an extremely high temperature of 1,250℃ - 1,300℃. Compared to toki, jiki is rather light and hard, and is often painted with vibrant patterns atop a white base, as seen on Imari-Arita ware (Imari-Arita-Yaki) and Kutani ware (Kutani-Yaki). However, similar to toki, the area of origin and properties of the pottery stones used changes based on the product being made.

Both toki and jiki use clay that is full of minerals such as feldspar and silica, but the clay for jiki has a higher percentage of these minerals. Because of this, firing at high temperatures allows it to crystallize and harden.

There are many famous types of jiki, including Imari-Arita ware (the first jiki in Japan), Kutani ware, Mino ware (Mino-Yaki), and Satsuma ware (Satsuma-Yaki).

Types of Toki

Mashiko Ware

The History of Mashiko Ware

The story of Mashiko ware (“Mashiko-yaki”) begins in 1853, towards the end of the Edo Period. The location is the town of Mashiko in Tochigi Prefecture in the northern Kanto region. Keisaburo Otsuka, a potter from the neighboring Kasama domain (Hitachi Province, which is now modern-day Ibaraki Prefecture), moved to Mashiko and found clay of exceptional quality. He established a kiln there to turn this clay into ceramics, marking the beginning of the Mashiko ware tradition.

Soon enough, he invited other potters over from Kasama, and with the aid of the local domain, they produced large volumes of daily necessities such as water jugs, vases, plates, and bowls, and exported them to Edo (now Tokyo).

As Japan transitioned from the Edo Period to the Meiji Period, Mashiko ware became so mass-produced that the quality began to deteriorate. In response, local manufacturers founded the Mashiko Ware Guild in 1903, as well as the Mashiko Ceramics Training Center, with the aim of training a new generation of skilled artisans who could recover the Mashiko brand’s reputation.

As metallic and glass kitchen items became increasingly common, Mashiko ware fell in popularity. However, the Great Kanto Earthquake turned the tides; the 1923 catastrophe flattened large numbers of homes in Tokyo, and as the city began rebuilding, there was enormous demand for kitchenware, including Mashiko ware pieces. It got to the point where craftspeople had difficulty catching up to all of the orders.

Another milestone in Mashiko ware’s history was the Mingei (or “Folk Crafts”) Movement, which was started in 1926 by philosopher Muneyoshi Yanagi and potter Shoji Hamada. Hamada, who resided in Mashiko and produced pottery, sought beauty in the everyday items he made, and his pieces became highly regarded as works of art. Hamada’s philosophy influenced the next generation of potters and contributed to the development of Mashiko ware.

The Tochigi Prefecture Ceramic Earthenware Association was established in 1951. Additionally, during Japan’s miraculous postwar economic growth, workers from throughout the country moved to cities, inspiring a mass wave of nostalgia for the countryside and traditional crafts. As a result, folk crafts like pottery exploded in popularity between the late 1950s and 1970s.

Mashiko ware was officially designated as a Traditional Japanese Craft in 1979, and today there are some 250 pottery studios specializing in the craft in Japan.

The Characteristics of Mashiko Ware

When describing Mashiko ware, the first thing to note is the feel of the clay. Because of its many sand particles, it is coarse, rough, and not very sticky. This means that the material is easy to mold and quite resistant to fire.

The coarse texture of Mashiko clay is less suited to making thin, fine items, so Mashiko ware tends to be quite thick. This helps items fit easily in the hand and gives it a certain warmth, contributing to its appeal.

Mashiko ware also tends to use plenty of glaze. Glazes with natural tones are common, such as persimmon glaze, black glaze, straw ash, tree ash, or a rice-husk-white glaze made from rice husk ash. This gives the products a warm and refreshing quality without being too heavy. Other glazes like amber and celadon (jade green) have a fresher air to them.

Products tend to consist of simple decorations made by simple, accessible tools. The shape is made with potter’s wheels, wooden molds, or simply by molding by hand. Decorative textures are added with brush tips or combs, and planers can be used to etch on some further textures.

However, although the techniques may be simple, the multiple generations of Mashiko artisans have brought forth a wide variety of products. Some, like Hamada, made their works with the explicit aim of carrying on a folk art tradition, while others’ creations were far more free-form. You could say that the sheer breadth of possibility is a distinguishing feature of Mashiko ware.

Mashiko Ware Today

Those who wish to get to know the artisans of Mashiko ware should visit the Mashiko Ceramics Market*, an enormous event that is held every spring and every winter, which when combined bring about 600,000 visitors each year. This is an excellent chance to see recent Mashiko ware items from young, up-and-coming artisans.

Over 500 Mashiko ware retailers and artisan tents are lined up throughout the town, and there you can find a wide variety of products, from daily household items to works of art, on sale at significant discounts.

Recent consumers tend to look for tableware that can fit into a simple and natural-looking decor. Mashiko ware, due to its gentle and natural hues, also provides a perfect visual complement to various cuisines.

*The Mashiko Autumn Ceramics Market—planned for October 31 through November 4, 2020—has been canceled due to the coronavirus.

Mashiko Ceramics Market Official Website: http://www.town.mashiko.tochigi.jp/page/page000110.html (Japanese only)

There are also long-established manufacturers trying out new things. For example, there’s an “ekiben” lunch box called “Toge no Kamameshi” that’s famous for its exquisite container, which is sourced from the long-established Mashiko ware maker Tsunamoto, established in 1864. While Tsunamoto is Mashiko’s largest pottery producer, they have been adjusting with the times and are placing greater emphasis on earthenware pots for individual use.

There is also the Wakasama Pottery Studio, which has gained popularity through its series of “shabby turquoise” items, with “shabby” here referring to its rustic look. Plates and bowls with this rough turquoise look are a perfect match for international cuisines! The studio offers Mashiko ware with a wide variety of designs, from polka dot motifs to items with a Northern European flair, which are microwaveable and dishwasher-safe as well. Their design and functionality makes clear that these items are designed with today’s sensibilities in mind, and they can easily find a role in modern life.

Echizen Ware

The History of Echizen Ware

Echizen ware (Echizen-Yaki) has a long history. It is a type of ceramic made mainly in the town of Echizen in Fukui Prefecture, located in central mainland Japan on the coast of the Sea of Japan. Echizen ware is known as one of the “Six Ancient Kilns of Japan,” which are six representative “schools” of ceramics (and their production areas) that have existed since before the Kamakura Period (1185 - 1333) up to the present day. Other than Echizen ware, there is the "Bizen ware" from the city of Bizen in Okayama Prefecture, "Seto ware" from the city of Seto in Aichi Prefecture, "Tokoname ware" from the city of Tokoname in Aichi Prefecture, "Shigaraki ware" from the city of Koga in Shiga Prefecture, and “Tamba ware” from the city of Sasayama in Hyogo Prefecture.

Echizen ware is characterized by its reddish-brown color and rustic texture, which comes from its rich iron content. Most Echizen ware is produced without the use of any glaze or “yuyaku” in Japanese. This is a glass-like coating on the surface of ceramics that serves to waterproof and add color and a glossy finish to the product. Without the use of any glaze, one of the beautiful characteristics of Echizen ware is the green pattern formed by ash from the firewood melting and fusing onto the surface.

The history of Echizen ware dates back to around 850 years ago. From the end of the Heian Period (794 - 1185), many Echizen ware pots, jars, mortars, sake flasks, and other everyday items were produced. Echizen ware was used to store water, sake, and grains by common people as it was leakproof and very durable. During the Muromachi Period (1336 - 1573), Echizen ware spread throughout Japan, carried by ships sailing from Hokkaido to Shimane, along the coast of the Sea of ​​Japan. The Fukui Prefecture ports of Tsuruga and Mikuni were known as two of Japan's leading port towns, and it is thanks to the presence of these large ports that Echizen ware was able to spread nationwide.

However, in the Meiji Era (1868 - 1912), due to modernization and changes in lifestyles, the demand for Echizen ware pots and jars plummeted. This led to a gradual decline in the popularity of Echizen ware. In response to these changes, the production of tableware such as “tokkuri” (a flask used to serve sake) and tea vessels began. However, this new style of Echizen ware was not very well received, leading to the closure of many kilns.

After World War II (1935 - 1945), Echizen ware began to regain its popularity. The historical value of Echizen ware was re-evaluated through a study on ancient kilns conducted by researchers such as Fujio Koyama and Kyuemon Mizuno. Fujio Koyama went on to dub the areas that the aforementioned six types of ceramics (“Bizen ware,” “Seto ware,” “Tokoname ware,” “Shigaraki ware,” “Tamba ware,” and “Echizen ware”) came from as the “Six Ancient Kilns of Japan.” As a result, Echizen ware—previously considered to be items for daily use—came to be known as a traditional Japanese craft.

The Characteristics of Echizen Ware

Echizen ware is characterized by its simple look that is brought out by the fine texture of soil. By using locally-sourced red clay that is rich in iron, the product is fire-resistant and highly durable. Most Echizen ware is produced without the use of glaze or coloring. When baked at a high temperature, ash from the firewood sticks to the clay, melting into the surface and creating a unique finish.

Interestingly, Echizen ware is technically classified as a type of stoneware, not pottery or porcelain. Stoneware has properties that place it midway between pottery and porcelain, and it is durable and water-resistant.

One of the distinctive techniques of Echizen ware production is the coil-molding technique known as “nejitate seikei.” First, a layer of clay is formed into the base. Clay is then rolled into long coil-like pieces, which are piled on top of each other around the base layer to form different shapes. In 1986, this distinctive molding technique was registered as an intangible cultural heritage of Fukui under the name “Togei Echizen Ogame Nejitate Seikei”.

Echizen Ware Today

In 1971, the Echizen Pottery Village was built in an effort to make Echizen a hub for regional development and to promote the growth of the Echizen ware industry. As a result, potters from all over the country flocked to the area and the number of pottery workshops increased. Today, many potters continue the techniques and traditions handed down from ancient times, and are working hard to create new pieces. In 1986, Echizen ware officially gained the government’s designation as a traditional Japanese craft.

It is possible to enjoy Echizen ware at a variety of locations near the Echizen Pottery Village, including the Fukui Prefectural Museum of Ceramics, the Industrial Technology Center of Fukui Prefecture, and the Echizen Yaki no Yakata (pictured above). The area also has a variety of lodging available, making it a wonderful place to visit for a cultural experience.

In addition, a new project in Fukui Prefecture called “RENEW” was organized and launched by the cities of Sabae and Echizen, as well as the town Echizen. The project aims to help create sustainable development in the region by opening seven different craft studios to the public, including Echizen ware. By organizing studio tours and workshops, visitors are able to understand the crafter’s thought processes, see them in action as they work, and even purchase crafts to take home. This example makes it clear that it is really the entire community that is involved in not only passing down the techniques of Echizen ware but also promoting the further development of the craft.

RENEW Website: https://renew-fukui.com/ (Japanese only)

Shigaraki Ware

The History of Shigaraki Ware

Shigaraki ware (Shigaraki-Yaki) is a type of pottery that originated from Shiragaki in the city of Koka in Shiga Prefecture. This prefecture is roughly in the middle of Osaka Prefecture, Aichi Prefecture, and Nagoya Prefecture, all three of which are in the Kinki region, slightly west of the center of the Japan mainland. Its roots extend as far back as the 8th century during the Tenpyo Era.

The Shigaraki ware we see today, however, is believed to have been created in the 13th century (Kamakura period) and firmly cemented in terms of craftsmanship and style by the 14th century (Muromachi period). This time also happens to be when the production of Shigaraki ware water jugs, pots, bowls, and other useful everyday tools started increasing.

In the 16th century (Azuchi-Momoyama Period), Shigaraki ware gained attention thanks to influential people such as Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyotomi. These shogun were fans of the Japanese tea ceremony, and claimed that although Shigaraki ware made refined tools, they were also perfect for Japanese tea ceremonies as they carried a taste of the earth and had a rough texture, both characteristics lending themselves to “wabi-cha,” a style of Japanese tea ceremony that emphasized simplicity. These statements led to a striking improvement in the overall reputation of Shigaraki ware, with more and more Shigaraki ware tea ceremony tools being made.

In the 17th century (Edo Period), Shigaraki ware started to be mass produced thanks to the Noborigama kiln (pictured above to the left), a type of kiln wherein multiple kilns are built along a steep mountainside. At the same time, demand for colorful Shigaraki ware began to increase, so more of that type started to be produced. Shigaraki ware started to become something essential to the people’s everyday lives, appearing as sake bottles, earthenware pots, and other everyday items.

In 1868 (Meiji Period), railroads were created, and the pots used to pour tea for railcar guests were Shigaraki ware. Around the same time, tanuki statues—pictured above to the right; granting good luck and are still often seen at shop fronts today—were made. These statues were Shigaraki ware and symbolized how the pottery was spreading to the masses. In the 19th century, Shigaraki hibachi (charcoal braziers) were made. They were quick to heat up as well as cool down, which earned them such a reputation that they were the most produced product at the time.

After World War II, electric and gas heaters started to become commonplace, resulting in the eventual end of the production of Shigaraki ware hibachi in 1965. However, thanks to the continuous efforts of Shigaraki potters, Shigaraki ware eventually gained its current designation as a traditional Japanese craft by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 1975.

The Characteristics of Shigaraki Ware

The most unique characteristic of Shigaraki ware is how the coarse clay soil makes it take on a pink, red, or sometimes even a reddish-brown hue after being fired. This is a natural occurrence that happens due to the mineral content, such as iron, in the soil.

Apart from that, in general, Shigaraki ware is unique in how the firing process changes its appearance. For example, it can take on a glassy coating from the wood ashes of the fire that fall onto it, as well as turn a burnt brown when completely surrounded by firewood ashes.

The clay soil used for Shigaraki ware is not just tough but also flexible, making it easy to shape. For this reason, you can find Shigaraki ware in all sorts of shapes and sizes—another great characteristic that it possesses.

Shigaraki ware is artistic when it takes the form of tea ceremony tools, but it’s also more than that. It has an old-fashioned charm brought about by its appearance which has been created from a multitude of natural conditions that cannot be replicated by humans.

Shigaraki Ware Today

Although it has been difficult to train successors in the art of Shigaraki ware, potters all over Japan are making more of an effort to do so as they recognize its value as a part of Japanese culture.
For example, in recent years, thanks to increased attention from overseas on Japan’s traditional culture, Shigaraki ware potters have made the move to Munich, Germany, in order to show students how to make Shigaraki ware and how to perform a Japanese tea ceremony.

More and more young potters with a focus on sustainability have also been appearing recently. Instead of throwing away substandard works, they break them down and reuse the parts. For example, they’re used as the gravel in a Shigaraki ware goldfish bowl or as a part of underwater sculptures.

You can view the works of experienced and young potters in one large hall at the Shigaraki Ware Festival* held every October. 2020 will be the 67th time they’ll be holding the festival. At this popular festival, the works of many workshops and potters will be for sale, often at 20-50% off.
*It will be held from October 9 - 18 in 2020. However, it will not be held in one large hall like in the picture above, but rather in several participating stores.

Shigaraki Ware Festival Website: https://www.shigaraki-matsuri.com/ (Japanese Only)

Bizen Ware

The History of Bizen Ware

Bizen ware, known as “Bizen-Yaki” in Japanese, originated in Okayama Prefecture in the Chugoku region, which lies in the western part of mainland Japan. It was created around 794 during the Heian Period. This so-called “pottery with a 1,000-year-old history” has been beloved throughout Japan for centuries. Its ancestor is an earlier form of earthenware called “Sue pottery,” which were used by people of the past as everyday utensils. Bizen ware came into existence thanks to Okayama’s mild climate and its natural resources, including the local, high-quality clay and red pines used in their kilns.

Bizen ware dishes with concave surfaces have been produced since the Kamakura Period, which began in 1185. As time went on, the discovery of new kinds of clay as well as the spread of the potter’s wheel made it possible to mass-produce Bizen ware. Around 1573, at the end of the Muromachi Period, Bizen ware utensils became especially prized by masters of the tea ceremony. Over the years, many kilns were constructed in different areas, leading to fierce competition. Thankfully, potters continued to pass their techniques down to the next generation, allowing this ancient Japanese craft to survive to this day.

Eventually, the craft started being safeguarded by the country, but the person who most contributed to its prosperity was the potter Toyo Kaneshige. For his efforts, in 1956, he was named a Holder of an Important Intangible Cultural Property (i.e. a Living National Treasure). With this designation, the popularity of Bizen ware spread not just in Japan but also around the world, giving birth to other Living National Treasure artisans such as Kei Fujiwara or Toshu Yamamoto.

The Characteristics of Bizen Ware

People love Bizen ware for its distinct reddish-brown color, which it gets thanks to the precious hiyose clay found in the Inbe region. Bizen ware is fired without glaze and isn’t painted afterwards to bring out its natural, warm earthen features.

There are four kinds of Bizen ware. There is the dark grey “yohen,” the “goma” (lit. “sesame seeds”) characterized by sesame seed-like sprinkles in its finish, the “sangiri” which uses copious amounts of charcoal, and the “hidasuki” which is characterized by patterns achieved by firing the pottery while wrapped with straw or string. The exact patterns on Bizen ware will differ depending on the firing or contact with the ash, so even items in the same form never come out exactly the same, which is part of their charm.

Bizen ware is fired in all sorts of kilns, from classic cellar kilns to modern electric kilns and also traditional “ascending kilns.” An ascending kiln is a large furnace built on a spacious, sloped area. Using this difference of elevation, multiple chambers are built atop each other, and dishes can be fired differently by placing them in different chambers. When using this type of kiln, potters must be careful about where to place each dish to fire it correctly. Firings happen only a few times a year, producing a limited number of products.

Bizen ware is incredibly durable. It’s said that being fired at extremely high temperatures makes this pottery impossible to crack, even if you throw it. Indeed, much like Echizen ware which was developed later, Bizen ware is technically earthenware, with properties between pottery and porcelain.

Another characteristic of Bizen ware is its irregular surface. The porous surface allows you to enjoy the fine texture of individual beer bubbles and makes drinks taste smoother. Bizen ware is also air-permeable, so it can be used as a flower vase. As you can see, Bizen ware is both beautiful and functional, which is why households have long used it for all kinds of purposes.

Bizen Ware Today

Japan’s oldest, most noteworthy "schools" of ceramics which have survived from the Middle Ages through to the modern day are referred to as the “Six Ancient Kilns.” They were designated as Japan Heritage in 2017, and Bizen is of course one of them. Many modern furnaces today keep its history alive.

If you visit Okayama, you’ll of course be able to buy Bizen ware tableware or vases, and there are also numerous restaurants that serve food in Bizen ware dishes. The prefecture naturally has museums and galleries, but you should also directly visit a kiln if you ever get the chance.

Bizen ware can come in all sizes and shapes and serve all sorts of functions. Bizen ware craftsmen go far beyond the traditional items and make various ornaments that express their individuality. But, as mentioned before, while they’re certainly beautiful and decorative, the real charm of Bizen ware is its functionality. They need to be used to be fully appreciated, and thanks to their durability, they will stay with you for a long time. And the more you use them, the more their surface irregularities will be worn down, causing the utensils to fit perfectly into your hand. So, please enjoy the simple beauty of this Japanese craft with both your eyes and your hands.

Hagi Ware

The History of Hagi Ware

The origins of Hagi ware (Hagi-Yaki) are somewhat complex.

After the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), the feudal lord Terumoto Mori moved his stronghold from Aki (in modern-day Hiroshima Prefecture) to Hagi (modern-day Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture). Then in 1604, Mori established the Hagi Domain’s “goyogama” kiln with Korean craftsmen brothers Shakukou Lee and Kei Lee at its helm. A “goyogama” is an official kiln, under the protection of a feudal domain, that is established for the purpose of creating gifts for the feudal lord and shogun. The techniques brought to the kiln by the two brothers are considered to be the beginning of Hagi ware.

During the Edo Period (1603 – 1868, the era in which the Tokugawa shogunate ruled the entirety of Japan from Edo (modern-day Tokyo)), Hagi ware was mainly created for the daily use of the local feudal lord or as gifts for the Tokugawa shogunate. Only select nobles could use Hagi ware, and common people did not have access to it.

Hagi ware tea utensils have long had a strong reputation, particularly the “chawan” (small bowls traditionally used for drinking tea), and local feudal lords and shogun are said to have used Hagi ware chawan in their tea ceremonies.

Up until the formation of the Meiji Government through the revolution known as the Meiji Restoration (1853 – 1867), the “goyogama” kiln operated under the protection of the local feudal lord. It was then privatized in the Meiji Period, causing a business dilemma for the kiln. Since then, due to changing lifestyles and economic depression, Japan saw a decrease in demand for traditional handicrafts. In response to this, the production of Hagi ware for daily use began, including items such as teacups and bowls, instead of just traditional tea ware.

During the Pacific War (1941 – 1945), the number of craftsmen working as individual artists began slowly increasing, and in 1957, Hagi ware was recognized as an Intangible Cultural Asset of Yamaguchi Prefecture. In 1970, Miwa Kyusetsu X was recognized as a Living National Treasure, followed by Miwa Kyusetsu XI in 1983. Through the actions of these masters, the artistic value of Hagi ware continues to be appreciated and thus the culture is preserved.

The Characteristics of Hagi Ware

The characteristic trait of Hagi ware is its subdued appearance that makes use of the texture of the clay and fine cracked patterns known as “kannyu” (crazing). Kannyu refers to tiny cracks that form on the surface during firing due to the different rates of contraction of the coarse clay and the pottery glaze. Through extended use, tea or sake penetrates the tiny surface cracks and the color of the glaze will gradually change. This phenomenon is known as “Hagi nanabake” and is praised throughout the world.

The secret of Hagi ware’s popularity is that its appearance changes the more you use it, making each vessel a one-of-a-kind piece.

Rather than from added decoration, the charm of Hagi ware’s appearance  comes from the mixture of clays used and the way the glaze is applied, making each piece look as though it were created accidentally. For this reason, specialty clays such as “Mishima,” “Mitake,” and “Daido” are used to produce the texture of the clay.

You will often see a notch cut into the bottom of Hagi ware tea bowls or other pots. This is something known as “kirikodai” (cutting foot). The “kodai” or “foot” is the ridge that skirts the base of the vessel. It stabilizes the vessel to prevent it from falling over, and also allows someone to hold the hot bowl without burning their hands. 

There are various theories about the notch in the foot, but it is commonly said that this began as a way to circumvent the rule against common people using Hagi ware. The Hagi ware was damaged by deliberately making a cut so that it could be sold to common people. This technique of cutting a notch into the foot is not exclusive to Hagi ware, however, and you may also see pieces without the notch in them.

Hagi Ware Today

There was an increased interest in the Japanese tea ceremony and a heightened demand for ceramics during Japan’s post-war economic boom (1954 – 1970). In 2002, Hagi ware was officially designated as a traditional Japanese craft by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Modern-day Hagi ware is not limited to traditional tea ware. An extensive range of pieces are produced, such as small teapots like the one pictured above, cups, and plates. As they can be purchased inexpensively, they are highly popular as daily-use items.

There are also now innovative projects underway, such as the development of sake drinking vessels in cooperation with sake breweries and collaborations with Instagrammers.

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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