Kyo-yaki is a general term for all pottery created in Kyoto. Kiyomizu-yaki originally referred to pottery made in the Gojozaka area, along the route to Kiyomizu Temple. Accordingly, all pottery now made in Kyoto is referred to as “Kyo-yaki / Kiyomizu-yaki.”
Beginning in the Momoyama Era, artisans and techniques for pottery from all over the nation gathered in Kyoto, the capital of Japan at that time. With the growing popularity of tea ceremony many workshops formed and developed. These workshops provided a refined aesthetic taste and advanced techniques for luxury and show pieces in demand by the aristocracy and masters of tea ceremony. On entering the Edo era, famed craftsmen Ninsei Nonomura and Kenzan Ogata were born, and perfected pottery that used advanced potter’s wheel techniques and colorful, picturesque designs.
The sophisticated designs and diverse techniques of Kyoto artisans have produced wide range of different types of pottery called “tsuchi-mono”, the same meaning as “earthenware”, and porcelain called “ishi-mono,” the same as “stoneware”. The arts of “Kyo-yaki” and “Kiyomizu-yaki” are said to have begun during the reign of Emperor Yuryaku from late-5th to early-6th centuries, and reached a peak with the brilliant colored porcelain of the great artist Ninsei Nonomura in the mid-17th century. Numerous talented potters such as Kenzan Ogata, Eisen Okuda, and Mokubei Aoki gave birth to a variety of unique designs and techniques.
“UNRAKU-gama is a house of pottery located in Kiyomizu-yaki Danchi in Kyoto’s Yamashina area, a region known for its Kiyomizu-yaki and Kyo-yaki ceramics.
Just as extraordinary earthenware’s color deepens over time, some kilns mature over time. UNRAKU-gama is the epitome of such maturation. UNRAKU-gama produces ceramics unlike any other, which are acknowledged and beloved around the world.”
The slope up to Kiyomizu-dera Temple is called “Chawan-zaka” because there are many pottery shops along it. It spread out from the Higashiyama area in the beginning of the Edo era by the popularity and prevalence of tea ceremony. Along this slope, there is also the Memorial Museum of Kondo Yuzo, a living national treasure. You can see beautiful pottery there. You can also go to Kyoto Pottery Hall, which shows and sells kiyomizu-yaki, a kind of kyoyaki, including teacups, mugs, tea bowls for green tea and decorated plates. You will be able to feel relaxed by looking at the beautiful pottery. On Gojo-zaka the Pottery Fair is held in August every year. It is a big market and many people come there from all over Japan
Robert Yellin Gallery
For serious collectors.
Offers a wide selection of ceramics from the potters of Japan, both antique pieces and those by contemporary artists. Our online selections are updated several times each week. Please do visit often to view the new selections.
Buy one-of-a-kind ceramics, and learn about the styles and traditions of Japanese pottery, from longtime Japan resident, pottery journalist, and ceramic specialist Robert Yellin.
For Old Pottery/Old Imari Stores:
Toutensei Kawasaki is a 8th generation pottery shop in the KiyoGojo area. It is one shop along the street and very close to Kiyomizu Temple. It is a Kyo Machiya that was originally built over 110 years ago.
On my way to Kanjiro Kawai’s home and museum, I came across this wonderful shop filled with many delightful things.
This store is located outside the gate to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This store mainly carries Kiyomizu-yaki and Kyo-yaki, two types of ceramics which are representative of Kyoto. In addition to ceramics the store specially ordered from artisans, you can also buy traditional crafts sourced from all over Japan. With fine articles selected with a good eyes cultivated their founding. it offers only the highest quality items from both famous artists and up-and-coming artists alike. They carry a selection of crafts to meet a wide range of needs, from tableware for everyday use to high-class lacquerware and tea utensils, so it is the kind of store you can just drop by casually.
The store has two floors, with mainly ceramics made using the Kiyomizu-yaki and Kyo-yaki techniques on the first floor, while traditional crafts gathered from all over Japan are displayed and sold on the second floor. Near the entrance on the first floor, there are various cups, dishes, and tea bowls for everyday use on sale. Further inside, there are high-class ceramics displayed like fine jewels. On the second floor, there is a collection of items you won’t see anywhere else, including Arita-yaki, a prominent style of ceramics from Saga Prefecture. The name Kiyomizu-yaki comes from the fact that it was first made near the entrance to Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
The Asahi pottery is rooted in Japan’s oldest center for tea cultivation, the famed town of Uji. The pottery has been in continuous production over four hundred years, through fifteen generations of the Matsubayashi family. From the time of the founder, Tosaku, the Asahi workshop has provided tea bowls treasured for preparing whipped tea to nobility, warrior rulers, and tea masters.
Another representative Asahi product is the spouted teapot (kyusu or hobin) for preparing steeped tea. It was introduced to the workshop’s repertory about 150 years ago by the eighth generation master, Chohei. The pot is designed to bring out the exquisite flavor of fine tea and is favored by connoisseurs. Each pot is shaped individually and with great care.
Today, under the guidance of the fifteenth master, Matsubayashi Hosai, the Asahi workshop continues to focus on utensils for various modes of serving tea, while at the same time creating a wide variety of utensils suited to contemporary life.
Seizan Kiln is the place of about 5 minutes walk from the Tobakaido station after getting on the Kyoto Sanjo station by Keihan railway. Close to the Rinzai-shu Daihonzan Tofuku-ji temple, it is the relaxed place which the Japanese culture can be felt through the long history. Seizan Kiln has succeeded the excellent arts and cultures brilliantly, and the first generation potter Seizan opened the Seizan Kiln. The second generation potter of Seizan (Kiyokazu) owns Seizan Kiln now. You can watch his original ceramic in the exhibition at Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi.
Address : 15-784 Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 605-0981 Japan
Located in Yamashina, Kyoto Prefecture. It is about 10 minutes walk from Ono station of Tozai Line, Kyoto Municipal Subway. There is a sun-flower field near the kiln. Shigeo Takemura, who is the owner of Daini kiln raises sun-flower and gathers them. They are fired and made into the ashes for glazes. “Dainichigama (Dainichi Kiln)” was named by “TSUKUBAJOHEN” who is the chief priest of a Buddhist temple Kanshuji at Yamashina. He makes the a natural ash glaze using the ash from plants such as the sunflower, grapes, and figs.
Address: 110 Kanshujigoshouchi-cho, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 607-8218 Japan
Kihei Kiln is the base of a mountain at Nantan-shi, Kyoto prefecture. IKAI, Yuichi makes an effort to produce his various ceramics at the kiln. There is “Tshuboya Kihei” which is his home and exhibition room at Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu. This is ta 10 minutes walk from the Kiyomizugojo station of Keihan railway. The exhibition room is half way of the gentle slope “Chawanzaka” from Gojozaka to Kiyomizudera temple.
Address : 6-540-10 Gojobashihigashi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 605-0846 Japan
There are a number of types of ceramics in Japan, but there are two main categories: One is ”Toki,” or earthenware made with clay. The other is ”Jiki,” or porcelain, made with powdered stone. Toki and Jiki are totally distinct in appearance and make different sounds when hit. Soryu-gama, led by their 4th generation master, produces wares that are a fusion of Toki and Jiki -a unique ceramic style.
This husband and wife team work together producing Kyoto-style porcelain that is decorated with techniques from Koishiwara, such as hakeme (brushed slip design) and tobi-kanna (a rhythmic, chatter-like design produced by a metal tool springing against a leather-hard, slip-covered vessel). As a result, this new style melds the best characteristics of each style of Soryu’s and Madoka’s.
Mori Touki Kan