A couple of Sundays ago on our day off we woke up early and caught an early morning train to an ancient pottery town called Tokoname. Being that it’s only a 35 minute train ride south it makes for a perfect day trip.
We started the morning off by making our way to the pottery footpath which is 4 km and winds through the heart of the historic pottery village that this town is centered around. At the beginning of the path there are 39 different clay cat statues built into a huge wall all with different meanings. Mike was pretty intrigued by them and preceded to take a photo of each one! Here are a few of our favorites.
After the warm welcome from all the cats we got a greeting from the mother of all cats Maneki Neko! Maneki = welcome and Neko = Cat. This statue is 12 feet by 20 feet! And of course like any other Japanese trinket it brings good luck!
As we strolled the old alley ways quietly on this crisp, sunny, and sea breezing morning (Tokoname is on the coast) I couldn’t help but feel a rush of calmness and ease. I love mornings (obviously after I’ve had my coffee)! We’ve been missing out on the mornings here because of our work schedule, so it was so nice to get out of the house before 2pm!
In a world that is rapidly changing it is imperative to preserve the past before its forgotten. And that’s exactly what Tokoname is trying to do! There are so many little details here that you could walk the same streets over and over and see something new each time. As we explored those streets we saw old kilns, pipes used for support, and bottles used to carry sake of course all made out of clay. In a town full of artists and creative thinkers the uniqueness was endless. Two things that I couldn’t help laugh about was how one store owner turned an old clay pipe into a fish tank! And another store owner made what could only be described as a clay graveyard!
So you might not be surprised, to hear that when Mike and I stumbled upon a do-it-yourself pottery workshop we jumped at the chance to get our hands dirty and try our skill at pottery making!
We had the kindest teacher whose name I’ve forgotten at a studio I can’t pronounce the name of! And of course with the language barrier we all could’t help but laugh at the silliness of it all. I wouldn’t say pottery making is either of our true calling. Basically I was too scared to really put any pressure on my clay in fear of making it shoot off the wheel. And Mike somehow managed to make his turn into a huge wobbly basin every-time he touched it. Good thing we had a teacher by our side to literally hold our hands and show us what to do!
For 3000 yen each ($30) we were both able to make our own cup and bowl! The whole process took about an 1.5 hours and we will get our masterpieces back in about a month or so…since they have to be fired up in the kiln and glazed still. Worth every penny!