Pottery Market in Kyoto

One benefit of living in Kyoto is that there’s always something to do. One could spend years just trying to see all the incredible cultural sites the city is packed with. Cultural events of all sorts are also plenty.

So a couple of weeks ago, I found myself heading to the Kiyomizu Pottery Market. Held every year in the Kiyomizu pottery district on the slope of Higashiyama, in the eastern part of Kyoto, this market features artists and galleries that specialize in the Kiyomizu-yaki style. The pottery district itself is home for more than 80 potters of various styles, their workshops and kilns.

The name for this peculiar style comes from the Kiyomizu temple, where potters workshops concentrated around the 15th and 16th centuries.

Though it undertook a lot of changes through its evolution, the origin of the Kiyomizu pottery can be traced back to the 5th century, when potters in the Higashiyama area started to make earthenware using kilns. Techniques involving colors were only introduced around the 14th century, probably as an import from mainland China. It is around the same time that overglazing techniques appeared,  giving luster to the finish piece after firing. All these technical evolutions led to a refined style of porcelain, characterized by bright colors and detailed patterns during the  Edo period (1600-1868).

After filling my eyes with all these traditional beauties, I was about to call it a day and jump in the bus back home, when I found a stall where a young woman was selling her more modern-looking pieces. Rice and tea bowls, little plates, all white with delicate and naive abstract details in indigo blue. Very light, sweet, playful. Unfortunately I hadn’t my camera with me so I can’t show them to you…

And there were these : candy-colored porcelain buttons and brooches in all their sweetness ! How could I resist ?!…well, I didn’t, and those little guys got back home with me !

I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with these pretty buttons, but maybe pendants or a necklace. For now, they are resting gently on my desk, in all their prettiness, and they make me very happy !

Have a nice day everybody !


6 Responses to “Pottery Market in Kyoto”

  1. 1 Triz August 7, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    these are so pretty! i love them… lucky you for living in Kyoto!!! 🙂 I’m jealous!

  2. 2 amber leilani August 7, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    those are gorgeous! so delicate, yet so modern.
    can’t wait to see what you do with them!

  3. 3 mycraftyways August 8, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Hi Triz !
    Love them too ! I actually find myself sighing in content when I walk by them…hum.
    Kyoto is an amazing place : so much to see, so little time ! (ok, if I want to complain a little bit, the heat and humidity here are excruciating…but hey, other than that !)

  4. 4 mycraftyways August 8, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Hi Amber !

    …and they’re even more beautiful in person. Something about the quality of the porcelain shine doesn’t quite translate in the pictures.
    I wonder where these are going to lead me creation-wise…!

  5. 5 sandee August 11, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Hi !!!!

    Such pretty !!!!


    We don’t know each other, but in september I’ll go to Japan (to Tokyo, and of course Kyoto) and I’m very curious to find good adresses ! Not very touristics one, you know…
    And I would like to practice pottery and others traditionnal crafts ! And that is very difficult to find ! How (where…) can I see one japanese potter practicing ? To see some raku pieces coming out the oven ? Can I do some buttons too ? ^^

    I’m french, I love handi-crafts, and particularly japanese traditional ones ! I would like to meet this traditional Japan, but it appears difficult for foreign people to find “non-touristic” adresses…

    I hope you won’t find me too… cheeky, and that you’ll undestand my happiness to go in the country you have the stupendous chance to live in !

    Bye bye !!! ^^


  6. 6 Jacqui from Mee a Bee December 14, 2008 at 6:51 am

    WOW!!! I want some of these! I must go to that market one day.

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