Otani-yaki or Otani-ware, the style of pottery made in Otani (in the Oasa town area of Naruto city) has been designated as a national traditional handicraft by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
While there are a number of pottery workshops that make Otani-ware, the one with the longest history is Yano Toen.
At the shop, a variety of Otani-ware such as rice bowls, coffee cups and vases is on sale, but at Yano Toen you can also make your own original piece of Otani-yaki.
We participated in the Otani-ware-making-experience!
Using around 1kg of clay, we took up the challenge of making a coffee cup! You start off by making the base, which will become the bottom of the cup.
Next, take a bit of clay and roll it in the palms of your hands into a long rope.
This is then wound around the outside of the base that you’ve already made.
Level the rope with your fingers so that it sticks to the base, and continue to add layers until the sides of the cup reach the desired height.
By the way, as the piece will shrink by about 15% during firing, a key point is to make your piece slightly on the big side.
After adding a handle of your preferred shape, and engraving patterns on the surface, all the work stages before firing are complete!
Don’t forget to carve your name on the bottom of your piece.
There was a little bit of clay left, so we made a plate, as well!
Next, the coffee cup and plate are fired at this “climbing kiln” built along a mountain slope.
Do go and have a tour.
The firing of the coffee cup and plate we made during the Otani-ware-making-experience was finished around a month later.
After your piece is finished, it is sent to you in the mail (postage paid separately). It’s exciting to wait, as you can imagine!
And then, a month later, ours were delivered.
I just can’t get enough of the simple yet somehow nostalgic feel of the pieces. If you specify the color(s) in which you’d like your piece glazed, they will finish it accordingly.
Get to know Tokushima’s traditional crafts through the Otani-ware-making-experience!
Location: 71 Kubara, Otani, Oasa-cho, Naruto city, Tokushima prefecture
Open: 8:30-17:00 (Otani ware experiences until 14:00)
Closed: New Year’s holidays
Parking: Up to 20 vehicles
Fees: Otani-ware-making-experience JPY2000/person
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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