smartphone menu

Full day in Shigaraki Pottery Town

Highlights

  • Spend full day in Shigaraki to soak completely in an authentic ceramic climate
  • Pottery making experience at a local potter's studio in Shigaraki
  • Visit five or six local pottery artisans in their kilns and studios
  • Learn about Shigaraki-ware by speaking with expert potters first-hand
  • Stroll around quaint narrow streets in the old town centre of Shigaraki
  • Leisurely countryside train trip on Shigaraki Kogen Railway

Description

If you are a ceramic lover, this is the very tour for you! Spending full day in Shigaraki pottery town, the tour let you soak in an authentic ceramic climate.

The tour starts from Kyoto Station with hopping on JR (Japan Railway). About an hour later, we will be at Kibukawa, where we change our train to Shigaraki Kogen Railway. As you guess from the word "Kogen (literally highland)", the train goes up into the mountain, occasionally giving you panoramic views of countryside. After the 30 minute leisurely trip, you will arrive at Shigaraki Station.

Now we start exploring the Shigaraki town, home of the world famous Shigaraki ware. Blessed with the special clay from the bed of the ancient Lake Biwa, this hillside town has a centuries-long history in pottery making and is counted as one of Japan's "Six Old Kilns". The central area of Shigaraki retains nostalgic atmosphere of the old pottery town; numbers of studios, galleries and houses stand close together along the quaint narrow streets, dotted throughout with the remaining traditional-type kilns, "anagama" (cave kiln) and "noborigama" (multi-chambered climbing kiln). On a stroll around the area, we visit several local pottery artisans in their workshops and galleries, having some time to speak with them and learn about their works first-hand. Interestingly, most studios and galleries in Shigaraki are attached to the potter's residences, providing you with the opportunity to not only see their workspaces but experience parts of the artisan families' daily life. Our morning walks ends up at an edge of the old town, where we have delicious lunch at an Omi-Beef restaurant.

Once you have seen a lot of ceramics, you may now be interested in try your hand at making your own Shigaraki ware. Our next activity is making pottery in a local potter's studio! You will receive about 1 kilogram ball of clay to create your masterpiece. You do not have to worry at all if you are a beginner! Friendly potters will give you necessary directions. The pieces you've made will be dried and fired by pottery masters and delivered to you in your country in one or two months (please note that the shipping fee is NOT included in the tour cost). After the pleasurable pottery experience, we will have a coffee break at the studio. You can ask potters anything about ceramics!

As the shadows lengthen, we have to leave the lovely pottery town. (On weekdays) We hop on a public bus to Ishiyamadera Station. A 60 minute bus trip through deep mountains adds more colours to the end of your experience. After short train rides, our tour concludes at JR Kyoto Station. (On Saturdays, Sundays and national public holidays) We travel back on the same route we took in the morning, and finish the exciting day at Kyoto Station.

Itinerary

(On weekdays)

JR Kyoto Station (Departure)

Train

Kibukawa Station

Train (Shigaraki Kogen Railway)

Shigaraki Station

Walk

Town centre of Shigaraki
- Strolling around the town
- Visiting local potters' studios and galleries
- Lunch
- Pottery making experience at a potter's studio

Public Bus

Ishiyamadera Station

Train

Ishiyama Station

Train

JR Kyoto Station (Return)


(On Saturdays, Sundays and national public holidays)

JR Kyoto Station (Departure)

Train

Kibukawa Station

Train (Shigaraki Kogen Railway)

Shigaraki Station

Walk

Town centre of Shigaraki
- Strolling around the town
- Visiting local potters' studios and galleries
- Lunch
- Pottery making experience at a potter's studio

Taxi

Shigaraki Station

Train (Shigaraki Kogen Railway)

Kibukawa Station

Train

JR Kyoto Station (Return)

Tour includes

  • English-speaking tour conductor (licensed guide interpreter)
  • Fee for pottery making experience
  • Fare for all transportation listed above
  • Insurance
  • Local tax

Tour does NOT include

  • Lunch (Please take whatever you would like at the lunch venue)
  • Pottery shipping fee to your country (the cost varies largely depending on weight of ceramics and the destination. Roughly speaking, one parcel of weight of pieces from one person, costs 4,500 - 5,000 JPY for Asia, 6,000 - 6,500 JPY for North and Central America and Oceania, 6,500 - 7,000 JPY for Europe, and 9,500 - 10,000 for South America and Africa, including packing costs.

Remarks

  • If you stay in Shiga Prefecture, our departure and return point may be changed into a more convenient place.
  • The potters we visit may vary depending on date, although we generally visit five or six potters.
  • You can purchase pottery from potters in Shigaraki, but please note that not all of them handle international shipping and accept credit cards.
  • If you wish to use an electrically-powered pottery wheel for pottery making, please contact us. It is available at an extra cost of several thousand yen per person.
  • From late October to February, the bus rides from Shigaraki to Ishiyamadera is to be after the sunset.
  • Packing light and wearing comfortable walking shoes are recommended. We walk about 3.0 km on this tour. A coin-operated locker is available at JR Kyoto Station.
  • Be sure to be prepared for all weather conditions depending on the season.
  • A few more places may be visited in accordance with your request if time and other conditions allow.
  • Seats in public transportations are not guaranteed.
  • Itinerary may change without earlier notice due to weather and transport conditions or any unforeseen circumstance(s).

Gallery

Pottery drying in the sun
Shigaraki Kogen Railway "Noborigama" (multi-chambered climbing kiln) Townscape of Shigaraki
"Noborigama" (multi-chambered climbing kiln) in Shigaraki Raccoon dog pottery figures (for which Shigaraki is famous today) Studio of a local potter
Local pottery artisans's kiln on fire Pottery making experience Make your only one piece in the world!
Booking Enquiry Form »

Price (per person):

No. of person(s)Price
1¥35,000
2-3 ¥27,500
4-5 ¥22,500
6-7 ¥19,500

Children under 5 are free of charge and not included in guest count.

Discounts!

  • ¥1,000pp off for adults with a valid JR pass
  • ¥1,400pp/¥1,000pp off for children aged 6-11 with/without a valid JR pass

Tour operates:

Every day

Group size:

Minimum 1 / Maximum 7

Language:

English (and of course Japanese)


Meeting time:

7:50 a.m.

Meeting point:

JR Kyoto Station (Next to the JR Information desk in the central concourse)  » MAP

Your tour conductor with a YUtour's logo card hung from his neck will be waiting to greet you.

Returning time:

6:30 p.m. approx.