A pottery village dating from the 18th century
The mountain village of Onta, located in the Hita region of Oita Prefecture in japan, is a hidden gem that has been producing traditional Ontayaki pottery for over two centuries. This charming village, nestled amidst lush greenery and tranquil surroundings, is a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the region.
Ontayaki pottery is renowned for its distinctive style, characterized by intricate geometric patterns and exquisite craftsmanship. The pottery village of Onta was established in the 18th century by visiting potters who were drawn to the area’s rich clay deposits and natural beauty. Today, Onta is famous for its traditional style pottery, which continues to be handmade using traditional techniques passed down through generations.
One of the highlights of visiting Onta is the opportunity to watch the skilled potters at work. As you wander through the village, you can observe them gracefully shaping clay on the wheel, transforming it into plates and bowls designed for everyday use. It is truly mesmerizing to witness the precision and skill with which they create these beautiful pieces of art.
In addition to watching the potters at work, exploring the village grounds is a must-do activity. As you stroll through the narrow lanes and charming alleys, you will come across historic kilns, traditional workshops, and ancient pottery artifacts. Each corner of the village tells a story, offering a glimpse into the rich history and cultural significance of Ontayaki pottery.
Starting a movement
The village of Onta owes much of its success and recognition to the Mingei Movement, which emerged in Japan in the early 20th century. Led by British studio potter Bernard Leach and Japanese folk artist Yanagi Muneyoshi, this movement aimed to celebrate the beauty of ordinary objects and traditional craftsmanship. It sought to revive and promote traditional arts and crafts, including Ontayaki pottery.
The Mingei Movement played a crucial role in raising awareness about the beauty and value of Ontayaki pottery, both within Japan and internationally. The movement emphasized the importance of preserving traditional techniques and promoting local craftsmanship, leading to increased recognition and popularity of Ontayaki pottery.
To visit the Ontayaki Pottery Village, you can start your journey from Hakata Station, which offers access to all parts of Kyushu. From Hakata Station, you can take the Kyudai main line train and get off at Hita Station. From Hita Station, you can then take a Hita Bus from Hita Bus Center and get off at Sarayama, which is the closest bus stop to the village.
It is important to note that the business hours of the village may vary depending on the pottery that is being produced. Therefore, it is recommended to check the official website or contact the village beforehand to plan your visit accordingly.
Exploring the village
As you step into the Ontayaki Pottery Village, you will be transported back in time to a bygone era. The village exudes a sense of tranquility and serenity, with its traditional wooden houses, stone pathways, and lush green gardens. The rustic charm and authenticity of the village make it a perfect destination for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
One of the first things that will catch your attention is the rhythmic sound of pottery wheels spinning and the mesmerizing sight of potters transforming clay into beautiful objects. You can witness the entire process, from shaping the clay to painting intricate patterns and glazing the finished pieces. It is truly a captivating experience to see the potters’ hands at work, molding the clay with precision and skill.
As you explore the village, you will come across various workshops and studios where you can learn more about the art of Ontayaki pottery. Some workshops even offer hands-on experiences, allowing you to try your hand at pottery making under the guidance of experienced craftsmen. This is a great opportunity to unleash your creativity and create your own unique piece of pottery to take home as a souvenir.
In addition to the pottery workshops, the village is also home to several shops and galleries where you can admire and purchase a wide range of Ontayaki pottery. From delicate tea sets to intricately designed vases and decorative items, there is something for everyone’s taste and preference. Each piece of pottery tells a story, reflecting the artistic vision and skill of the craftsmen who created it.
Unearthing the history of yesteryear
As you delve deeper into the village, you will discover the rich history and cultural heritage that Onta holds. The village is dotted with historic kilns, some of which have been in use for generations. These kilns are not only functional but also serve as a testament to the village’s long-standing tradition of pottery making.
You can also visit the Onta Folk Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the potters and the history of Ontayaki pottery. The museum houses a collection of ancient pottery artifacts, tools, and photographs that provide insights into the evolution of the craft over the years. It is a treasure trove of knowledge for anyone interested in learning more about the cultural significance of Ontayaki pottery.
Immersing in the local culture
Onta is not just a pottery village; it is a living testament to the vibrant local culture and way of life. As you interact with the villagers, you will be greeted with warm smiles and genuine hospitality. The villagers take pride in their craft and are eager to share their knowledge and stories with visitors.
If you visit during a festival or special event, you will have the opportunity to witness traditional performances, music, and dance that celebrate the village’s cultural heritage. These events provide a unique insight into the traditional customs and rituals that have been passed down through generations.
While Onta is primarily known for its pottery, there is much more to explore in the surrounding area. The village is nestled amidst breathtaking natural landscapes, including lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and scenic hiking trails. Nature lovers can embark on a journey to discover the beauty of the Hita region, which is home to several hot springs, historic sites, and picturesque landscapes.
For those interested in history and architecture, a visit to Hita City is highly recommended. Located just a short distance from Onta, Hita City is known for its well-preserved historic district, featuring traditional Edo-period buildings and charming canals. Taking a leisurely stroll through the streets of Hita is like stepping back in time, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural heritage.
In conclusion, a visit to the Ontayaki Pottery Village is an enriching experience that takes you on a journey through time. From watching skilled potters at work to exploring the village’s rich history, every moment spent in Onta is a celebration of traditional craftsmanship and cultural heritage. Whether you are a pottery enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking a unique cultural experience, Onta is a destination that should not be missed. So, plan your visit and immerse yourself in the world of Ontayaki pottery, where tradition and artistry come together in perfect harmony.
Address And Maps Location:
168-2 Shode Nakanoshimamachi, Hita-shi, Oita-ken