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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Art & Design

Ceramic Art Messe Mashiko 益子陶芸美術館 陶芸メッセ・益子

View a town through the lens of pottery

Ceramics have played an enormous role in Mashiko's history and culture. At Ceramic Art Messe Mashiko and its centerpiece Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art, you can view original pieces of Mashiko ware that fuelled an explosion of creativity in this small town.

Don't Miss

  • Exploring the world of Mashiko pottery
  • Taking part in a tea ceremony at the house of a renowned artisan

How to Get There

Ceramic Art Messe Mashiko is most easily accessed by bus from Utsunomiya Station.

To reach the complex from Utsunomiya Station, take the Toya Bus at stand #14 towards Mashiko Station. The bus ride takes about one hour. Get off at Togei Messe Iriguchi, and it's about a two-minute walk to the museum facilities.

Enter the world of Mashiko ceramics

In modern Japanese, the German word "messe," meaning "trade fair," has also come to be used for certain kinds of theme parks.

Ceramic Art Messe Mashiko hosts a variety of earthenware related facilities, with the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art being the main draw.

The museum's exhibits were originally dedicated exclusively to local ceramics; Mashiko ware, the town's unique style, still features prominently. Recently the museum has begun displaying modern ceramic work from overseas as well.

Visit a master craftsman's residence

Shoji Hamada was not the first potter in Mashiko, but he was the most influential. His house has been relocated to the Ceramic Art Messe, as have his kilns that were built based on ancient designs.

The house is now open to public viewing, and tea ceremonies are held here throughout the year. Check with the museum for schedules.

Learn from renowned ceramic artists

Mashiko has gone from being a local ceramics producer to a globally recognized center of craftsmanship.

The Mashiko Museum Residency Program was initiated to invite artists from around the world to stay and create in Mashiko. You can get an up-close look at how modern potters work by attending resident artist's workshops.

Other park facilities

Mashiko has hosted masters of other art forms as well. The renowned printmaker Sasajima Kihei was born in Mashiko. The complex's Sasajima Kihei Hall has a rotating exhibition of his work that changes annually.

When you're ready for a break, head to Salon where you can choose a handcrafted cup-and-saucer set and enjoy some coffee or tea. Salon also houses the museum gift shop where you can buy Mashiko pottery.

Iseki-Hiroba, the site of a medieval castle, is at the center of the complex. Now it's an open grassy area featuring sculptures from local artists.

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