Make your own ceramic keepsake in the village where Bizen pottery originated
With a history that spans over 1,000 years, Imbe is the home of Bizen pottery, one of Japan's most loved and oldest types of pottery. Wander freely through the old town and soak up the ambiance of this area while exploring the town's many traditional workshops and craft communities. Imbe doesn't just have ateliers and storefronts; many of the artisans live and work in the town.
- Exploring the many kilns around Inbe Station
- The Bizen Pottery Museum, a fascinating hub of pottery
- Going souvenir hunting at a pottery atelier
How to Get There
The kilns of Imbe are located all around Imbe Station on the JR Ako Line.
The best way to reach Imbe is by taking the Ako Line from Okayama Station. From there you can explore the area by foot, car or taxi.
See the kilns of Imbe
Minutes from Imbe Station, you'll find kilns where generations of potters have created this iconic pottery for centuries. Each kiln has its own style and tradition. Famous kilns that you can see near the station include Kimura Kourakuen, Shibaoka, and Ichiyougama.
Bizen's diverse potter community
As you walk past the various shops, you will notice the subtle differences in artistry and presentation. Visitors are more than welcome to enter any of the shops that are open and may even be treated to a complimentary cup of tea and friendly conversation. The potters take great pride in their work and enjoy discussing it with visitors.
A short hike to see the pottery's natural inspiration
If you have time to explore, within 20 minutes or so you can find yourself up in the hills of Imbe, which provide the raw materials for the kilns. The clay used is taken from the hills of Bizen and the wood that fires the kilns comes from local and regional forests.
Enjoy the pottery festivities
The Bizen Pottery Festival is held each year on the third Sunday of October and is a great chance to see some of the finest examples of pottery created by both masters and enthusiasts. Various events at the festival include demonstrations on how to use a potter's wheel, tea ceremonies, traditional bizen-related ceremonies, and a photo contest.
Digging a little deeper into Bizen pottery
You can easily explore the area within a day, but be sure to put aside a few hours to visit the Bizen Pottery Museum . Here you can learn how to make Bizen pottery and enjoy the 250 works on display that cover both contemporary works and artifacts from ancient times.