5 Best Places to Buy Ceramics in Kyoto
by Samantha Cubbison | TRAVEL
Kyoto is a city built on the foundation of tradition, and the craft of ceramics is a honed artform that has been practiced in the area for generations. Today much of Japan’s finest ceramic art has its home in Kyoto. And you can be a part of it too. To save you combing through the dozens of possibilities, we have put together a great list of 5 go-to spots for you to get your pottery fix.
The rich history and dedication to the ceramic arts have made the city into one of the most popular destinations in the world for lovers of pottery. So if you’re looking for best places to buy ceramics in Kyoto, you need look no further. The perfect ceramic piece is out there, calling your name.
1. Asahido Honten
Asahido Honten is located near the renowned Kiyomizu-deru temple, which is known for its phenomenal views, and extravagant shopping plaza. This shop follows the age-old kilning process of the local area, which involves producing pieces in small volumes and a wide variety to assure top-quality results. The staff is well versed in English, and will even send your purchases overseas with the utmost care.
Address: 1-280 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto (see on Google Maps)
Hours: 9am to 6pm, everyday.
Transport: 10 minute walk from Gojozaka bus station.
Asahiyaki is for visitors who are looking to get their hands dirty and gain some experience at the wheel. With a variety of lessons taught in English, who says that you can’t be a master potter? High-quality clay and over twenty varieties of glaze are provided, after which you can purchase your masterpiece. It will then be fired and processed from five to six weeks, and finally shipped directly to your home. They also hold special classes on occasion, so be sure to check out their website before your visit.
If you’ve already left Kyoto and are on your way to the capital, don’t worry, we’ve got you. Check out these recommendations of Where to Buy Ceramics in Tokyo.
Address: 67 Ujiyamada, Uji-shi, Kyoto (see on Google Maps)
Hours: 10am to 5pm, closed Monday.
Transport: 16 minute walk from Uji station.
Perhaps you’ve wondering where to buy Kyo-yaki, or the Kyoto style of pottery? Ceramics like this can be found in abundance at Unrakugama, located near the Yamashina area and adjacent to the workshop where all the magic happens. 30-40 minute guided tours are available for customers and those with a keen interest in this specific ceramic practice. All artisan pieces made in the workshop are available for purchase in the showroom and store, with a wide range in terms of pricing. Unrakugama will satisfy your pottery craving, regardless of budget or taste.
Address: 9-2 Kawata Kiyomizuyaki Danchicho, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto (see on Google Maps)
Hours: 9am to 5pm, everyday.
Transport: 2 Minute walk from Kiyomizu-yaki Danchi station.
Toutensei is an 8th generation Kyoto pottery store that prides itself in deep-rooted customs. A Tsubo-Niwa style courtyard garden compliments the aged wooden building, which was first established 110 years ago. From sake sets to matcha mixing bowls, this shop specializes in all things related to Japanese drinkware. A special tea ceremony experience is available via reservation, for which matcha and small snacks are provided. This is a great spot for some casual browsing and relaxation after investigating the various temples in the area.
Japanese ceramics has a fascinating history, and an even more exciting future. To find out more, take a look at our interview with the Arita Porcelain Lab. Arita is a fascinating destination for ceramic fans. Find out about some of the others in 6 Ceramic Towns You Should Visit!
Address: 5-463 Gojobashi-higashi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto (see on Google Maps)
Hours: 10:30am to 6pm. 11am to 5:30pm on Sunday.
Transport: 2 Minute walk from Gojozaka bus station.
The Kyototoujikikaikan, or Kyoto Ceramic Center, has been promoting Kyoto ceramic practices and displaying various works for over sixty years. The center has a permanent exhibition space that is home to classical artworks, which can give you some perspective as to how the practice has evolved over time. There is also a section for special exhibitors, which has more contemporary pieces available for purchase. This is an excellent way to learn more about the history of ceramics before venturing through the various shops of Kyoto for some classic omiyage (souvenirs) of your own.
Address: 583-1 Yugyomaecho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto (see on Google Maps)
Hours: 10am to 6pm, closed on Thursday.
Whether your passion lies in the matcha or the bowl, the art of ceramics is a beautiful tradition that can be appreciated by all. Though Kyoto may be known best for temples and yatsuhasi (triangle mochi), there is a pottery scene that is just as rich as fresh clay. For tourists and locals alike, these beautiful hand-crafted pieces have been made to be admired for years to come. Now, every time you take a sip of tea, the taste of Kyoto won’t be far behind.