Admire Masterpieces of Pottery at Mashiko Museum
Feed your inner muse at a museum dedicated to one of Japan's most celebrated ceramic artists
The Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art is located southeast of Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture, in the small town of Mashiko. While the museum celebrates all kinds of ceramic work, the collection is centered around the work of local artist Shoji Hamada, who was designated as a Living National Treasure by the Japanese government during his lifetime.
The first home Hamada purchased is one of the features of the museum. Built in the late Edo period (1603-1867), he lived in it with his family, other artists, and maids, and later hosted guests from around the world in the house. It was relocated to the museum after Hamada passed. The nobori-gama (climbing kiln) that Hamada used has been reconstructed at the museum, giving visitors an up-close look at the traditional methods by which Japanese pottery is made.
Kihei Sasajima, a local Mashiko printmaker, is also featured at the museum. The museum has a collection of some 300 of his prints and displays about 20 pieces at any one time.
After you’ve explored the museum, don't forget to visit the salon for coffee, tea, or dessert. You'll be able to select your own cup and saucer from their selection of fine earthenware, all handcrafted in Mashiko. Sit back, relax, and experience the artwork as it was intended.
Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train to Utsunomiya Station (about 50 minutes), then take the local bus to the museum (about one hour).
Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art
3021 Mashiko, Mashiko-machi, Haga-gun, Tochigi-ken
Approx. 1 hour or more