A tour of potteries in Koishiwara where you can feel the beauty of use firsthand [Journey around pottery vol.9]

I visited Koishiwara in Toho Village, Asakura District, Fukuoka Prefecture, which has a history of over 350 years of pottery.

It's a perfect day for a drive with a slight cool breeze blowing.
It's an hour and a half drive from Fukuoka city.

How to get to Koishiwara (Toho Village)
By car: 1 hour by highway from Fukuoka City < br>20 minutes after getting off at Haki Station
By train: Approximately 2 hours by JR from Hakata Station
Transfer at Shin-Iizuka Station⇒Transfer at Tagawa Gotoji Station⇒Chikuzen Iwaya Station 

This time, I would like to visit four potteries and sightseeing spots in Koishiwara.

Start from roadside station Koishiwara

I left home at 8am and arrived at Koishiwara Roadside Station around 9:30am.

You can purchase fruits and vegetables grown in the Asakura area, which is famous for fruit picking, at reasonable prices.

Melon for 680 yen is a great deal...!

Works from Koishiwara potteries are displayed inside the roadside station, making it feel like an art museum!
You can buy your favorite pottery, or you can visit a pottery that catches your eye after seeing the pottery here.

Visiting Mr. Onimaru of Omei Kiln

The first place we visited was Omei Pottery, which is one of the most popular Koishiwara ware potteries.

Here, we were able to hear from the second generation Mr. Onimaru.
Mr. Onimaru grew up watching pottery making up close since he was a child.

He went on to university at Tokyo University of the Arts, but from the beginning he had planned to return to his hometown after graduation.
Since he had many opportunities to see Western tableware in Tokyo, he was always on the lookout for anything that could be used to make pottery.

Cute dot pattern of "Omei Pottery"

The origin of the dot pattern is that during a conversation with a customer, the mother who was working as a shopkeeper at the time asked for a design like this, and it was developed based on that request.

From this background, I felt that the design was tailored to the people who use the utensils.

The thing that surprised me the most when I talked to him was that he said, ``I don't do any marketing.''

Utensils that are about to be fired

Mr. Onimaru's honest words, ``I will not move from here (Koishiwara)'', conveyed his determination to carry Koishiwara on his shoulders, and his sincerity towards making pottery and customers, and I couldn't help but be drawn in. .


Omei Pottery seems to be pioneering in not only using the traditional techniques of Koishiwara ware, but also incorporating new designs such as dot patterns and square hangings, but the materials they use to make their pottery are 100% natural.

The theme is to ``use locally sourced raw materials and value the colors of the materials themselves without forcing them to be colored.''

The gentle purple-tinged color of the glaze is said to be expressed by using clay (red iron) that is rich in iron.

The priority is always to ``make the most of the materials and think about the people who use them'' rather than ``selling the product,'' which is why they create pottery that coexists with strength, gentleness, and novelty.

Even if the same materials are mixed in the same way, the color will differ depending on where they are placed in the kiln, such as the front and back.

Rather than being 100% calculated, each piece has its own expression, which gives it a handmade feel.

Works made by my son are also displayed at the entrance of the gallery, and you can purchase them for 500 yen each.

I bought a wolf and it is grazing in my cupboard.

When I open the cupboard door, I see a small wolf peeking out at me, which makes me feel warm.

This is a porcelain ochoko made by Mr. Onimaru of Omei Kiln.

Actually, Mr. Onimaru is a dual wielder of "ceramics" and "porcelain"!

When I told him about my recent addiction to sake, he gave me a porcelain container as a souvenir! I'm enjoying a drink.

Even though Omei Pottery does not promote itself at all, it is chosen for its collaboration products with Starbucks and for the pottery used to decorate the food at Pietro Restaurant, which has its main branch in Fukuoka.

The traditional techniques, cute designs that make you want to pick them up, and love for Koishiwara's land are all packed into each pottery, so you're naturally drawn to them.

To Hayakawa pottery in Sarayama district

Sarayama district is the birthplace of Koishiwara ware.
At this location, you will find Hayakawa Pottery, one of the potteries that have supported Koishiwara ware from the beginning.

The husband, wife, and son talked about the history of Koishiwara ware and the Sarayama area.

The weight of a tradition that has continued for over 350 years is clearly felt.

You can see the work in progress right in front of your eyes!

A flying plane currently owned by the 15th generation owner. The half-moon-shaped pattern creates a beautiful spiral pattern.

A well-used tool. The spacing between the patterns engraved on the flying plane changes depending on the position of the handle.

It seems that you can master the flying plane technique itself in about a year, but it takes many years to be able to draw the pattern you want to create.

This is one of the traditional techniques, ``Hakeme''.

The speed at which the potter's wheel is turned and the timing at which the brush is applied to the pottery work together in a rhythmic manner to create beautiful patterns.

Both flying planes and brush marks are created by skilled hands. I was able to see it right in front of my eyes and was captivated by it.

This is Hayakawa Pottery's popular product "Cocotte".

An excellent product for making fried eggs in the microwave.

The palm-sized pottery has a brushed pattern and is very cute.

They gave me a cocotte as a souvenir, and I use it every day!

It's especially useful on busy mornings! Just heat it in a 300w microwave for 2 minutes to create a soft fried egg!

You can easily make fried eggs while you're preparing your rice, so it's perfect for those who want to eat well even on busy mornings.
The handle does not get hot, so you can hold the pot with your bare hands.

It looks very cute and would make a great gift.
When you touch the pottery, the fluffy brushed texture that you feel with your fingertips is so adorable.

Lunch time at “Aqua Creta Koishiwara”

Now that I think about it, I left the house at 8 o'clock and didn't eat anything until 12 o'clock and I got hungry in front of Mr. Hayakawa.

I'm heading to the restaurant that you introduced me to, saying, "There's a good restaurant nearby!"

Aqua Creta Koishiwara is located a few minutes by car or 10 minutes on foot from Hayakawa Pottery.

Atmosphere inside the store

This hotel is apparently a renovated elementary school.
The restaurant "Feario" is open to the general public who are not staying at the hotel.

"Chef's choice lunch" using plenty of Asakura ingredients, mainly ingredients from Toho Village

Salad of young chicken and village vegetables
Pasta with peppers and smoked bacon
Sautéed chicken and grilled village vegetables

The dishes on which the food is served are all made by Koishiwara pottery!
It is possible to request ``I would like a pottery from 〇〇 pottery.''

It was a very nice restaurant where you could enjoy Koishiwara in its entirety, including the ingredients.

I'm really curious about what's going on inside the hotel!
I wasn't able to visit the whole place this time, but I would like to stay overnight and visit again.

Pop pottery from Tsurumi Kiln

The next place we visited was Tsurumi Kiln.

Tsurumi kiln's pottery is decorated with pop borders and checkered patterns using the traditional technique of Koishiwara ware.

When you touch the pottery made by the owner of Tsurumi Kiln (hereinafter referred to as Mr. Wada), you can feel the innocent, boy-like energy that comes through, and a cheerful feeling wells up within you.

This one has a completely different impression, with a natural color and matte texture.

``Image can be good or bad.While I value the unique design of Tsurumi Kiln, I still want to take on new challenges.Seeing young children working hard gives me strength. Come”

From Mr. Wada's sparkling eyes and expression, I could feel his passion for expanding the world of Koishiwara more freely and happily.

"Experience space installed inside Tsurumi Kiln"

At Tsurumi Kiln, you can experience the potter's wheel. (Reservation required)

About a month before I visited this time, Tsurumi Kiln was on display at an event in Fukuoka City, so I had the opportunity to experience the potter's wheel there in advance.

What I made this time is a tea bowl for brewing matcha.

My first experience on a potter's wheel.
We will provide you with detailed one-on-one instruction.

It was a lot of fun to face the clay, which can change its shape at will depending on the force of your fingers.

One month has passed since then.
This is the tea bowl that Mr. Wada brought to me and said, “The bowl is ready!”

It's become so wonderful!
I can't help but ask, "Is this really the bowl I made?"

The tea bowl was decorated with the traditional technique of flying planes and the design of Tsurumi kiln, giving it a very powerful and beautiful appearance.

I am enjoying my matcha life with the tea bowls made at Tsurumi Kiln.
The taste of matcha served in a bowl you made with your own hands is exceptional!

It's the perfect size to serve as a bowl, so you can also serve it with rice.

Tsurumi Kiln's owner is friendly and cheerful, just like the design of the pottery, and is happy to talk to you.
We had a great time and headed to the next pottery.

Marudaigama kiln surrounded by the nature of Koishiwara

The last place we visited was Marudaigama.

Marudaigama is located right next to the second Hayakawa pottery we visited.
This is also a pottery that has been around since the early days of Koishiwara ware, and the 15th generation owner is currently making the pottery.

Koishiwara is blessed with soil, water, and wood, and it is said that this environment created Koishiwara ware and still supports it.

By trial and error in mixing the materials and firing the kiln, he approaches the color of the candy glaze he is aiming for.

It warms my heart to see him spare no effort until he completes his ideal, instead of compromising by thinking, "This is fine."

This is a ``nobori kiln'' that is only used by a few of the 44 kilns in Koishiwara.
By using this climbing kiln, you can efficiently fire more pottery.

They were planning to hold the book firing the week after I visited!
I wanted to see it in action up close!

Ryo-kun, the idol of Marudaigama.
His smile and gaze at the camera were so cute that I couldn't stop pressing the shutter button.

Traditional Industry Hall where you can learn the history of Koishiwara ware

On the way to our next destination, we discovered the Koishiwara Ware Traditional Industry Hall.

At the Koishiwara Pottery Traditional Industry Center, you can learn about history and experience pottery (reservation required).

Depending on the season, there are also lucky bags for sale where you can get Koishiwara pottery at a great price!
Please check out the official website and visit us.

Gyojasugi where you can feel the magnificent nature

After driving for a few minutes, I went to see one of Koishiwara's sightseeing spots, Gyojasugi.

A huge tree with a trunk circumference of approximately 8.3m, named "Daiosugi" among the Gyojasugi! It's amazing!

Being surrounded by beautiful greenery, you will forget even the fatigue of moving around all day.
I was able to breathe in the fresh air and have a refreshing time.

I stopped by Yamada SA area on the way home and had Asakura soy sauce ramen

Koishiwara Drive where you can experience rich nature and tradition

I actually visited the Koishiwara area and was able to experience its rich nature.

There are potteries that have been in business for over 350 years and potteries that are relatively new, but both of them face the task of making pottery every day with the aim of producing good pottery.

Koishiwara ware has a warm feel that can be used not only as a piece of art but also as a part of everyday life.
I was able to experience for myself the reason why it is called "useful beauty".

There are 44 potteries in Koishiwara, so one day is not enough time!

It would be really fun to decide on a specific destination and decide, ``Let's go to this pottery today,'' or stay at Aqua Crete, which we introduced this time, and take a leisurely walk around the pottery.

Koishiwara is close to Akizuki, where you can enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere of a castle town, and Ukiha, where you can enjoy fruit picking all year round, so it would be a good idea to enjoy Asakura as a whole!

You can view the Koishiwara ware pottery introduced this time here.

Koishiwara ware list page

May you enjoy your daily meals with your favorite utensils.