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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
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. 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
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours 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
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders 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
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life 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

Culture

Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex 清水焼団地

Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex -Kyoto's pottery neighborhood

For centuries, the artisans of the Gojo district have produced Kiyomizuyaki pottery, some of the finest stoneware that Kyoto has to offer. In 1962, the Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex was established. Even though the potters' kilns no longer burn here, many of the company and artisans' shops remain, holding treasures that have yet to be discovered.

Quick Facts

Kiyomizuyaki pottery is a kind of stoneware; because of its fine appearance, it's often mistaken for porcelain

The colors in Kiyomizuyaki pottery's glaze are vivid and contain a high percentage of glass which is fired at a low temperature, making the pigments in the glass appear nearly transparent

Historically, Kiyomizuyaki pottery was made by unnamed artisans and created for export, while 17th century Kyo-yaki, another kind of Kiyomizuyaki ware, was signed by artisans and produced for domestic use

How to Get There

You can get to Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex by taking a train to Kyoto Station. From Kyoto Station, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Line to Yamashina Station. Take a bus from Yamashina Station and get off at Kiyomizuyaki-danchi bus stop.

Kiyomizu ware

The Kiyomizuyaki Pottery Complex is home to nearly 70 shops and companies involved in the sale of Kiyomizuyaki pottery, now known as Kiyomizu ware. Four hundred years ago, this pottery was created at the base of the nearby Kiyomizudera temple. Nowadays, Kiyomizu ware is the name that is used to describe all pottery made in Kyoto.

The tea ceremony and Kiyomizuyaki pottery

With the tea ceremony's rise in popularity in the 16th century, local artisans began producing cups and tools for use during the ceremony. Those with wealth and power -tea ceremony masters, noblemen, and Buddhist monks- began using Kiyomizu ware while entertaining their weatlhy visitors, making Kiyomizu ware sought after.

The artisans who first produced Kiyomizu ware learned their skills from Chinese and Korean potters. When Kiyomizu ware was brough to Japan, it was adapted to meet the sophisticated tastes of those who used it. Kiyomizu pottery is characterized by its meticulous details and sophisticated designs.

Modern day artisans who produce Kiyomizu ware continue to hand paint individual pieces with ornate designs in the same way as was done hundreds of years ago. As a result, the demand for these pieces is high, making them difficult to find.

Shop and learn

This area has so much to offer; there is a seemingly endless amount of pottery to look at. If pottery shopping isn't your thing, you can visit workshops and learn how artisans produce their wares. If you want a more hands-on experience, you can participate in a pottery class and give throwing a pot a whirl on a pottery wheel.

Pottery festival

If you only have a few days in Kyoto and you want to buy pottery, the Kiyomizuyaki no Sato Matsuri pottery festival is a must see. It's held on the third Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of October.

If you're after a bargain, this festival won't disappoint; ceramics are on sale at steep discounts. In addition to shopping, you can watch pottery demonstrations and indulge in local delicacies. Don't worry about the crowds; extra buses run from JR Kyoto Station to the festival.

For the ultimate in pottery shopping, check out the Gojozaka Pottery Fair held annualy on August 7th to 10th. It's the largest pottery fair in Japan and it features nearly 500 small shops spanning five city blocks.

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