Kasama: A Pottery Community in Evolution
The traditional pottery town of Kasama lies about 100 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, about 1.5 hours away by train or car. Surrounded by verdant hills, it enjoys an abundant natural environment. Until the early Showa era (1930s-1940s), Kasama was a major production center of ceramics for everyday use, such as pots and mortars. In recent decades, along with changes in people's lifestyle, the focus of Kasama ware has shifted to tableware and interior goods. Thanks to the town's relaxed atmosphere and openness to outsiders, many potters have moved there from other parts of Japan, producing their own individual works, often using methods they have developed themselves. Euan Craig is a potter from Australia who has lived in Japan for about 30 years. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Euan visits Kasama, to meet the local craftspeople who live and work in this evolving pottery town.

Kuno Toen (Kuno Pottery Garden)

Kasama ware dates back around 250 years. Kuno Toen's first-generation owner, Kuno Han-e-mon, set up his workshop after being taught by a potter from Shigaraki, in modern-day Shiga Prefecture. Its ancient climbing kiln and workshop are open to visitors.

Kasama Kogei-no-oka (Kasama Crafthills)

This complex was set up to highlight the pottery of local artisans. Among the works on display are pieces by Matsui Kosei, a living national treasure who lived and worked in the town. Entry is free of charge. It also sells pieces by local craftspeople, and offers visitors a chance to try their hand at pottery making.

Kasama-Inari Jinja (Kasama-Inari Shrine)

Kasama-Inari Jinja has a history dating back more than 1,300 years. It attracts some 3.5 million worshippers from across Japan each year. In the autumn, it is the venue for the oldest chrysanthemum festival in the country, with more than 5,000 pots of chrysanthemum plants exhibited in the precincts.

Access