Jyonaizaka Main Street of Pottery Town Mashiko



The town of Mashiko is famous for its clay-based pottery, Mashiko ware. In such a town, the main street, Jyonaizaka Street is about 500 meters, a 15-minute walk from Mashiko Station so it is easily accessible by train. This area is one of the most popular tourist spots in Mashiko, with streets lined up with cafes, climbing kilns that are rarely seen these days, pottery shops and more. Take a look at what the street offers.

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    Pottery All Over

    Just by strolling around Jyonaizaka Street with a gentle slope, there are many things to discover. While the street is only about 500 meters long, about 30 cafes, pottery galleries, and pottery studios are packed on both sides of the street. Each store has its unique characteristics, and it's hard to choose the one.

    The clay-based pottery, Mashiko ware, is said to have started at the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). Since then, it has been used as daily utensils such as pots, water jars, and earthenware jars. From the traditional ones with a somewhat thick, chubby shape with a warm touch and an appealing rustic flavor to more modern ones, it's so hard to find the perfect one that matches your tastes.

    At the intersection that serves as the entrance of Jyonaizaka Street sits the Higeta Indigo Dyeing Studio (traditional indigo dyeing studio) with its magnificent thatched-roof building. This studio has been in operation for over 200 years and the building was built during that time. Because of its historical value, the building is designated as a tangible cultural property of Tochigi Prefecture. There used to be more than a hundred traditional indigo dyers in the prefecture but with time, synthetic and chemical dyes have taken over, and now there are only two, including Higeta Indigo Dyeing Studio. This studio is free to visit and even sells items on spot too.

    Higeta Indigo Dyeing Studio


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    Tochigi Haga-gun Mashikomachi Jonaizaka 1
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    Besides the Higeta Indigo Dyeing Studio, the climbing kiln of the Daiseigama Kiln is also a place of historical value that is recommended to take a visit. Founded in 1861, this long-established pottery has the largest climbing kiln in use today.

    No gas or electricity is used to create the pottery here. Unlike using the electric kilns where the glazing is even, the pottery glazed with climbing kilns turns out completely uneven. The degree of glazing depends on the placement of the pieces in the kiln relative to the fire. Therefore, using the climbing kilns, the texture, and the color change depending on where the fire touches. No one pottery turns out the same, in comparison to the electric kiln. And this uniqueness makes the pottery made with climbing kilns popular.

    Tochigi Pref. Hagagunmashikomachi Jounaizaka 92
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    Walking further down the street, a huge raccoon dog will come into view. This is the Mashiko Pottery Cooperative Selling Center, a sales facility that sells a wide range of pottery from high-end ones made by famous artists to more wallet-friendly ones. In addition to the store, there is also a souvenir shop and a facility where you can experience pottery making. With its large parking lot and location in the center of Mashiko town, it is known as a landmark of this town. A pottery market is held twice a year, in spring and fall, with over a hundred pottery makers and dozens of artists exhibiting their Mashiko ware potteries.

    Mashiko Town, where the good old townscape remains strong, a ulture, history, and art can be experienced in just 500 meters of this Jyonaizaka Street. While visinting the area, this is a place that can not be missed.

    Mashiko-yaki Pottery Cooperative Sales Center
    Tochigi Pref. Hagagunmashikomachi Mashiko 706-2
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