Introducing Shigaraki ware. Features, popular artists, and famous raccoon dog

Hello, this is UTSUWABI staff.

What do you think of when you hear the word “Shigaraki ware”?

Some may think of raccoon dog figurines, and others may think of the NHK TV series “Scarlett”.

Exhibit:Shigaraki Town Tourist Association

Shigaraki ware is made in Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture, and is characterized by its simple warmth.

It is one of the “Six Old Kilns of Japan,” six representative production centers where pottery production has continued from the Middle Ages to the present.

Many people may not know in detail why the tanuki figurines were made in the first place or why the title of the drama was “Scarlett.

In this issue, we will introduce Shigaraki ware.

If you would like to know what kind of Shigaraki ware is available, please click here! If you are interested in Shigaraki ware, please click here.

Shigaraki ware list page

We will also tell you about our recommended lineup of vessels and stores you might want to drop by when you visit Shigaraki.

What kind of pottery is Shigaraki ware?

Region and History

Shigaraki is located on the south side of “Lake Biwa,” the largest lake in Japan.

Exhibit:Shigaraki Town Tourist Association

This location is one reason why Shigaraki ware has developed so much.

Lake Biwa was located exactly where Shigaraki is located 4 million years ago, but over the years it moved to its current location.

Therefore, Shigaraki, where Lake Biwa used to be, has accumulated earth, sand, and the debris of animals and plants, which has created clay soil suitable for pottery.

Shigaraki ware is said to have originated in the Nara period (742), when Emperor Shomu had tiles fired for the Shigaraki Palace built by him.

In the Muromachi period (1333-1573), with the establishment of the tea ceremony, tea ceramics flourished, and its wabi and sabi textures were loved by many tea masters.

In the Meiji period (1868-1912), Shigaraki-ware braziers with excellent fire resistance became popular, accounting for as much as 90% of the domestic market share.


Shigaraki ware is characterized by its rustic texture and the production of large-sized ceramics, which are the result of nature's bounty.

The secret lies in the Shigaraki clay.

By mixing high-quality clay from Lake Biwa with several types of clay and other materials, a strong clay is produced.

This is the reason why large ceramics such as raccoon dogs and brazier can be made.

Exhibit:Shigaraki Town Tourist Association

Why the image of Shigaraki ware = raccoon dog?

Now, regarding the image of Shigaraki ware = raccoon dogs, it was Emperor Showa who established this image.

Exhibit:Shigaraki Town Tourist Association

When he visited Shigaraki in 1951, he was greeted by many raccoon dogs carrying the Japanese flag.

Newspapers and other media reported the raccoon dogs, and the image of raccoon dogs became widespread.

Meaning of the morning drama “Scarlett”.

Scarlet” is an NHK morning drama series.
Set in Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture, it is the story of a female potter who paves her own way in the world of ceramic art.

Have you ever wondered what the title Scarlett...means?

It comes from the unique color characteristics of Shigaraki ware.

When fired in a wood-fired kiln without glaze, the chemical reaction produces pottery with a pink or unique red (scarlet) color.

The title of the morning drama “Scarlet” comes from this scarlet color.

This hue is also the result of the abundance of ingredients suitable for ceramic clay.

Until recently, Shigaraki ware was mainly fired without glaze or ash glaze based on clay or straw ashes, but recently glazes of various shades have been used.

Therefore, you can enjoy not only Shigaraki ware with a rustic image, but also unique pieces.

Recommended vessels by style

Shigaraki ware has a simple design that blends seamlessly into everyday life.

Here are some recommended tableware that you will want to use every day at your dining table.

Easy to use as a standard, Shigaraki ware of Kohiki

The softly textured white color of this “Kohiki” vessel is at home in your daily life.
The scarlet color that peeks out in places gives a sense of the warmth of Shigaraki-ware clay.

It is easy to match with any dishes and utensils, so it can be used as a staple at your dining table.

Raffle Plate S Pottery, Furutani Pottery

The rim is accented with a frilled pattern that resembles the folds of a garment.

The gentle and rustic reddish clay and the flow and pooling of the glaze create a deep atmosphere.

Plate 24cm, Kohiki, Pottery, Shigaraki ware

The spots created by iron powder that appear here and there are charming.
The rim of the bowl stands up smoothly, giving it a clean look.

It is about 8” in size and is useful for serving a main dish or a whole cake.

Pot, cracked and powder-coated, Shigaraki ware

The round, lovely form resembles a puffer fish.
The individual crack patterns on each piece give it a unique look.

With a capacity for two to three people, it is sure to be a dependable companion for both everyday use and for guests.

Stew Bowl, cracked and powder-coated, Shigaraki ware

The round shape and small ears are the charm points.

It is very useful when used with soups, such as thick stew or minestrone with many ingredients.

Shigaraki ware with a rustic texture

You can enjoy the rich expression of natural materials in these vessels.

They have a nostalgic atmosphere, and will bring a peaceful atmosphere to your dining table.

Small Bowl, Yellow Seto Pottery, Shigaraki Ware

The slight yellowish hue creates a soft and gentle atmosphere.
The smooth surface of the bowl has a comfortable texture that makes you want to wrap your hands around it.

The appearance of the bowl is not too assertive, and it complements foodstuffs, making it a gentle addition to your daily dining table.

Dish, iron powder-coated, pottery, Shigaraki ware

The mottled pattern of iron powder scattered throughout the vase is charming.
This speckled pattern is the result of iron contained in the clay, which is baked in the kiln to form black spots on the surface.

The size of this dish is useful for serving side dishes and desserts, as well as as as a serving dish.
It is a little deep, so you can enjoy soupy dishes as well.

Soup Cup, iron powder-coated, pottery, Shigaraki ware

It is a large size to enjoy stew, pork miso soup, and other ingredients in a bowl.

It is deep enough to be used as a small bowl of rice, such as a bibimbap bowl with meat and namul on top of rice.

Large Bowl, Tobikanna, Pottery, Shigaraki ware

The geometric patterns created by traditional techniques are distinctive.

The warm brown color with rhythmic dotted pattern creates a light atmosphere.

It is the perfect size for serving roast chicken and potatoes or other dishes that you want to share with others.

Shigaraki ware with modern and fashionable patterns

These vessels have the warmth of Shigaraki-yaki clay, yet are modern in color and design.

They are a perfect match not only for Japanese cuisine, but also for Western cuisine, and fit gently into modern life.

8inchi rim plate, pottery, Shigaraki ware

The contrast between the simple white base and black border gives this platter a modern impression.

It can be used as a main dish for two or three people by serving fried chicken or meat and potatoes, or as a main dish for one person by serving ginger yaki with shredded cabbage.

It is also a great way to enhance Japanese food that tends to look plain.

Striped cup, pottery, Shigaraki ware

The simple shape of the container, which can be used for any purpose, is excellent for expanding the range of your dining table.

It can be used not only for beverages, but also for vegetable sticks because of its wide aperture.

8inchi Dish, star, pottery, tomaru, Shigaraki ware

Dynamically carved geometric patterns on a kohiki vessel.

The warmth of the clay itself and the oriental atmosphere can be felt.

Shigaraki ware with a simple design

These vessels show a particular attention to the coloring and materiality of the glaze.

The simple design enhances the beauty of the glaze.

Plate 25cm, Shinogi, Turquoise, Pottery, Shigaraki ware

The gradation of blue is refreshing and looks like the ocean.
The eye-catching turquoise blue color will make even the simplest dish gorgeous.

From mikasko (instagram)

It is perfect for serving about four people, or for a balanced arrangement of cheeses and snacks, or for entertaining.

Rust Glaze Rim Bowl, Large, Pottery, Furutani Pottery

The wide, straw hat-like rim of this bowl makes it a useful item that can be served with any dish.

It goes well with simple dishes such as minestrone and pot-au-feu that make the most of the flavor of the ingredients.

Ruri Glaze Pitcher, Large Pottery, Furutani Pottery

It is also nice to add ice and sliced lemon or your favorite herbs to the water.

Because of its height, it can be used as a vase for enjoying cherry blossoms, cotton flowers, and other branching plants.

Small dish, pink, pottery, Shigaraki ware

Like strawberry milk or macaroons, these pastel-colored small plates are perfect for serving canned goods or muffins.

The fluttering rim of this dish makes it look even prettier when you place a canulé or a muffin on it.

Mugs are especially popular among Shigaraki ware.

There is also a special article featuring a collection of items that will make your home café time and meals more enjoyable, so if you are interested, please read on.

[Shigaraki ware mugs and soup cups] 7 selections of utensils that are suitable for daily life

Popular Shigaraki ceramic artist

Shigaraki ware, in a word, varies from simple textures to eye-catching colors.

Here, we would like to introduce some of the artists who create Shigaraki ware.

Koichi Furutani (Furutani Pottery)

Mr. Furutani is the successor to Furutani Pottery.
The simple and gentle expressions of his pottery, made of his own clay, are very appealing.

The relaxing patterns and hues of the konpiki clay and its enveloping form will give you a sense of relaxation in your busy day-to-day life.

The bowl is fired twice at a high temperature, called “honyaki,” so that it can be used in a microwave oven.
You can rest assured that it has a durable quality that can be used for a long time.


Sahira Kiln

Using a firing method called “cooling reduction,” Sahei Kiln produces vessels with a slightly metallic quality and mellow colors.

The pottery is characterized by its solid construction with a tight turning wheel.

As he says, “I try to make vessels as tools that are easy to use and will last forever.


Sankirai Ceramics Studio

Sankirai Tobo is a pottery studio surrounded by the nature of Shigaraki.

The contrast of blue and white colors is refreshing and brightens up your mood.

The textile-like design blends in with modern life.

Toshio Tomaru

These vessels are finished in a modern style using a technique called “Kanna-shaving.

The somewhat oriental atmosphere makes them easy to use regardless of the genre of cuisine, which is a delight.

The eye-catching design will make your dining table lively, and the design is also suitable for use in a wide variety of dishes.

Togetsu Kiln (Masahiro Kubo)

Togetsugama's works are semi-porcelain vessels made from a mixture of Shigaraki clay and Amakusa clay.

The patterns and shapes are sure to delight anyone who holds them in their hands.
It is perfect for women who want to make their dining table a little prettier.

It can be used in the microwave and dishwasher.


Masaki Domoto

Masaki Domoto studied under Nobuo Furutani at Furutani Pottery and established Domoto Pottery Studio in Shigaraki in 2007.

Domoto's vessels are made using traditional glazes and valuing the presence of the unique Shigaraki clay.

Every time I use them, they reveal different expressions.
He aims to create such vessels, which will be loved by everyone for a long time to come.


Otani Pottery (Tetsuya and Momoko Otani)

Tetsuya Otani quoted from his official Instagram

Tetsuya and Momoko Otani make pottery at Otani Pottery.Tetsuya and Momoko Otani make pottery at Otani Pottery.

Tetsuya's white porcelain vessels have a simple yet sophisticated form that is beautiful and enchanting.

Flowers and plants are depicted on Momoko's vessels, and their lovely appearance is sure to cheer you up.

Her works, created from small ideas she comes across in her daily life, will gently accompany you in your daily life.

Jun Fujiwara

Taken from Jun Fujiwara's official Instagram

Mr. Jun Fujiwara is a potter in Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture. He is the fourth generation of his great-grandfather's generation to work at the pottery, making objects and vessels.

Fujiwara's unique blue and gray colored vessels, also known as Fujiwara blue, have many fans, and are so popular that numbered tickets are drawn by lottery at his solo exhibitions.

Yasumi Kobo (Maki Yasumi, Hayato Yasumi)

Yasumi Kobo's pottery is simple and rustic, yet has a seasonal feel to it.

The sky and cloud-like designs evoke an exciting early summer picnic, perfect for the coming season.
The hand-drawn vessels of vegetables and fruits can be used either as a single item on the table or as a matching set.

The artist uses a variety of techniques, such as matching the smooth, matte kohiki atmosphere with glossy glaze colors and bold use of gosu.

Top 5 best-selling Shigaraki ware

At UTSUWABI, we carry many Shigaraki ware vessels.
Here are the top five best-selling vessels among them.

No.1 Plate 24cm Kohiki, Shigaraki ware

No.2 Plate 24cm Black Matte Pottery, Shigaraki ware

No.3 Pot, cracked, Shigaraki ware

No.4 Donburi Deep Gold-colored Pottery Shinrakiyaki

No.5 Deep dish 24cm black pottery, Shigaraki ware

Shigaraki Tourist Information

I want to go to Shigaraki and buy some nice vessels.

I would like to eat a delicious meal and experience Shigaraki pottery making!

For those who want to visit Shigaraki, here are some of the stores and sightseeing spots that you should stop by when you visit Shigaraki.

Click here to read an article about an actual visit to Shigaraki by UTSUWABI staff.

Pottery walk in Shigaraki, the town of tanuki

Handmade warmth and attention to detail. A day of healing with Shigaraki ware and cafes [Journey around utensils vol.14]

Galleries and stores where Shigaraki ware can be purchased

When you visit Shigaraki, we recommend that you first visit galleries and stores run by potters and artists.

You are sure to find your favorites as you stroll around.

Maruichi Honten

Taken from Maruichi Honten official Instagram

Located about 10 meters from Shigaraki Station, the store has about 2,500 types of Shigaraki ware in stock!

It is recommended for those who would like to see various types of Shigaraki ware first.

There is also a showroom with over 300 types of hand wash basins and ceramic bathtubs, so you can see the large ceramics that are typical of Shigaraki ware. 

Address: 228 Kawahigashi, Nagano, Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture
Phone number: 0748-82-0234
Business hours: 9:00-18:00
Holidays: Year-end and New Year holidays


shop & gallery Toumu

Taken from the official Instagram of Toumu-gallery

It is a spacious gallery with works by 50 to 60 artists on display at any given time.

The gallery is a place for young artists to showcase their work, with solo exhibitions held approximately every month.

You can enjoy discovering new discoveries and encountering wonderful vessels every time you visit.

Address: 65 Shigaraki-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga
Tel: 0748-82-2686
Business hours: 10:00 - 17:00
Holiday: Wednesdays


Bungoro Warehouse

Quoted from Bungoro-gama Akira Okuda's official Instagram.

Located in a corner of the Bungoro Kiln is the Bungoro Warehouse, a gallery in a renovated 50-year-old warehouse.

Originally used as a workshop, visitors can enjoy the remnants of its past.

Akira Okuda's signature work, the “Reversible Series,” is a wonderful cross between black and white color designs.

These easy-to-use vessels, which are suitable for both Japanese and Western cuisine, are sure to make table coordination a pleasure.

Address: 1087 Nagano, Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture
Phone number: 0748-82-3153
Business hours: 10:00-18:00
Holiday: Open irregularly


job of a vessel

Quoted from Naoko Murakami's official Instagram

A pottery and accessory atelier and gallery open only on Sundays, run by artists Naoko Murakami and Takahito Shirai.

The works are based on motifs of nature in spring, summer, fall, and winter, and are made with a white base and unified with calm colors such as rusty iron and rusty black.

The charm of the works is that they have an atmosphere that combines the texture of clay with the taste of antiques.

The design and size of the pots will fit comfortably in a woman's hand.

Address: 1978-1 Tento, Shigaraki Town
Phone number: 090-4305-6662
Business hours: 11:00-17:00
Business day: Sunday



Taken from Ogama's official Instagram

The large climbing kiln at Ogama is eye-catching and is operated by Meizangama.

It exhibits and sells flower vases, tableware, and accessories, and holds special exhibitions at different times of the year.

There is also a café where visitors can enjoy a meal with Shigaraki-ware vessels while gazing at the climbing kiln, making it a perfect place to take a break from strolling.

Address: 947 Nagano, Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture
Phone number: 0748-82-8066
Business hours: 10:00-16:30 (L.O. 16:00)
Closed: Wednesday and Thursday


Shigaraki Pottery Studio

If you go all the way to Shigaraki, you may want to try your hand at making pottery.

There are places where you can experience Shigaraki pottery making.

Reservations are often required in advance, so please check the website for more information.

Okuda Chuzaemon Kiln Shigaraki Ceramic Village

Quoted from the official website of Shigaraki Ceramic Village

In addition to pottery, visitors can try their hand at making Shigaraki-style pottery such as raccoon dog figurines and lamps.

Children who are not yet able to learn how to make pottery can also enjoy the experience of painting on the vessels and raccoon dog piggy banks made by the craftsmen.

Address: 1131 Nagano, Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture (Main Store)
Phone number: 0748-82-0522
Hours: 9:00-17:30
Closed: Open all year round


Shigaraki Kenzo Ceramic Art Club

From first-time ceramic artists to those who are serious about their craft, there is a plan for everyone to enjoy making pottery.

You can choose from three courses: the electric rocro course, the hand twisting course, and the tatara course.

Address: 755-1 Nagano, Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture
Phone number: 0748-82-2216
Hours: 10:00-17:00
Closed: No regular holidays


Rokuro Workshop: Youki-Tosha

Quoted from the official website of Youki-Tosha, a workshop for experiencing rokuro pottery turning

There are courses in both handmade pottery making and full-scale pottery making using an electric potter's wheel, and there is also a course in creative pottery making where you can experience both.

We recommend this course for those who want to make plates and complex shaped pieces, but also want to try using the potter's wheel! This course is recommended for those who want to make plates and complex shapes, but also want to use the potter's wheel.

Address: 2344 Tento, Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture
Phone number: 0748-83-0570
Business hours: 10:00-17:30 (last admission at 16:00)
Closed: Open every day


Shigaraki Cafe

If you are hungry after visiting vessels, you may want to take a break.

Here are some perfect places to take a break when you are hungry.


A café with a gallery, with a lovely chic interior.
Depending on the time of year, there are also private exhibitions of artists.

The coffee and cheesecake are perfect for a 3:00 p.m. snack.
Spending time with delicious coffee and lovely vessels is a blissful experience.

Address: 1970-4, Tento, Shigaraki-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga
Telephone number: 0748-83-1186
Business hours: 11:00-19:00 (L.O.18:00)
Closed: Wednesday


Taken from Temahima Utsuwa's official Instagram

This café is run by the wife of ceramic artist Nozomi Shinohara.
The dishes served in earthenware-like dishes with warmth are exquisite!
You can also enjoy baked goods and parfaits during café hours.

Reservations are required, so please check with us in advance via Instagram.

Address: 157 Kise, Shigaraki-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga 529-1802
Business hours and holidays: Check from Instagram *Reservations required

Table Coordination with Shigaraki Ware

Once you have found a beautiful tableware, you want to start serving your dishes.

What kind of table coordination do you enjoy?

From haneyuriiiiii (instagram)

A large bowl of potato salad served in an iron-powder-coated bowl.

The rustic coloring will come in handy as a standard vessel, regardless of the dish you choose.

From se_ra1031 (instagram)
From kazmint116 (instagram)

Table coordination using Furutani's tableware.

Although Japanese tableware is Japanese, it fits perfectly with a Western atmosphere.

From mikasko (instagram)

Japanese coordination in shades of brown.
This plate is just right for a rice ball and two eggs.


Pottery fairs are held all over Japan.

Of course, Shigaraki also has its own pottery market!

Usually held in spring and fall, here are the two pottery fairs.

Shigaraki Pottery Festival

The Shigaraki Pottery Festival, held every fall, is a fun, festival-like pottery market with stalls selling local delicacies.

Exhibit:Shigaraki Town Tourist Association

Exhibitions and sales are held simultaneously at several locations in the town.

The big sale is the most popular event, and some items are sold at a discount of 20-50% off the regular price at stores.

During the period of the event, exhibitions and sales are also held at the Shiga Prefectural Ceramic Cultural Park and other places, so visitors can enjoy shopping while strolling through the entire town of Shigaraki.

At the Shigaraki Ceramic Art Market in the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, you will find artists' stalls.

Exhibit:Shigaraki Town Tourist Association

Shigaraki Artists' Market

The Shigaraki Writers' Market is an annual GW event that focuses on the sale of artists' works, and the scale of the event seems to grow larger every year.

Exhibit:Shigaraki Artists' Market

The ways to encounter and purchase vessels made by artists are limited, such as through private exhibitions or online shopping.

The most attractive point of the Artists' Market is that you can encounter the works of many such artists.

The price range of pottery on display is usually between 1,200 yen and 5,000 yen.

Of course, there are some that are higher or lower than that!

Consulting with your wallet and steadily collecting vessels is part of the fun.

The Shigaraki Writers' Market sells not only pottery but also handmade goods, so you may be able to find what you are looking for there as well!

Each of the vessels is packed with a different view of the world, so it will be a good opportunity to discover your own tastes and new discoveries.

Exhibit:Shigaraki Artists' Market

To learn more about the Shigaraki Writers' Market, please read this summary article.

To learn more about the Shigaraki Writers' Market, please read this summary article.


We have taken a close-up look at Shigaraki ware and introduced its features and places to stop by when you visit Shigaraki, along with recommended vessels.

If you would like to see more Shigaraki ware vessels, please click here! If you want to see more Shigaraki ware, please take a look at this page as well.

Shigaraki ware list page

In addition to the Japanese tableware introduced here, UTSUWABI also sells a variety of other tableware, so if you like, please visit UTSUWABI.


May you find your favorite vessels and enjoy your everyday tablescape even more!