Kyoto’s pottery neighborhood, known as the Gojo district, has been a hub for the production of Kiyomizu ware for centuries. Kiyomizu ware is a type of stoneware that is highly regarded for its fine craftsmanship and exquisite beauty. The artisans in this district have perfected the art of creating Kiyomizu ware, making it some of the finest stoneware in Kyoto.
The history of Kiyomizu ware dates back to the establishment of the Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex in 1962. Although the potters’ kilns no longer burn in this complex, many of the companies and artisans’ shops still remain. The complex is home to nearly 70 shops and companies involved in the sale of Kiyomizu ware, making it a must-visit destination for pottery enthusiasts.
One of the distinguishing features of Kiyomizu ware is its glaze, which contains a high percentage of glass. This gives the glaze a vivid and transparent appearance, making the pigments in the glass appear nearly transparent. The colors used in Kiyomizu ware are vibrant and eye-catching, adding to the overall beauty of the pottery.
Kiyomizu ware has a long and rich history. In the past, it was made by unnamed artisans and created for export. However, in the 17th century, a new type of pottery called Kyo-yaki emerged. Kyo-yaki was signed by artisans and produced for domestic use. This marked a shift in the production of pottery in Kyoto, with Kiyomizu ware becoming more sought after by tea ceremony masters, noblemen, and Buddhist monks.
The rise in popularity of the tea ceremony in the 16th century had a significant impact on the production of Kiyomizu ware. Local artisans began producing the tools and cups used in the tea ceremony, and Kiyomizu ware quickly became the preferred choice for these items. The tea ceremony masters and influential individuals of that time recognized the beauty and quality of Kiyomizu ware, further fueling its demand.
The artisans who produce Kiyomizu ware today continue to adhere to traditional methods and techniques. Each piece is meticulously hand-painted with intricate designs, ensuring that every piece is unique and one-of-a-kind. The attention to detail and the dedication to preserving the traditional craftsmanship are what sets Kiyomizu ware apart from other types of pottery.
Visitors to the Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex can not only admire the beautiful pottery on display but also learn about the production process. The complex offers workshops where visitors can try their hand at pottery throwing and experience the art of creating Kiyomizu ware firsthand. It is a unique opportunity to gain insight into the craftsmanship and skills required to produce such exquisite pottery.
One of the highlights of visiting the Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex is the annual Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Festival. Held on the third Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of October each year, the festival is a celebration of Kiyomizu ware and a chance to purchase pottery at discounted prices. The festival attracts both locals and tourists, offering a vibrant atmosphere filled with pottery demonstrations, local delicacies, and cultural performances.
To visit the Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex, one can take the Tokaido-Sanyo Line from Kyoto Station to Yamashina Station. From there, a bus can be taken to the Kiyomizuyaki-danchi bus stop, which is located near the complex. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes, making it easily accessible for visitors.
In conclusion, Kyoto’s pottery neighborhood in the Gojo district is home to the renowned Kiyomizu ware. The Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex is a haven for pottery enthusiasts, with its wide range of shops and companies offering exquisite pieces of Kiyomizu ware. The history, craftsmanship, and beauty of Kiyomizu ware make it a treasure of Kyoto’s traditional arts and crafts. Whether it’s admiring the pottery on display, participating in a pottery class, or attending the annual pottery festival, a visit to the Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex is a truly immersive experience in the world of Kiyomizu ware.
Address And Maps Location:
10-2 Kawata Kiyomizuyaki Danchi-cho, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu