- Pottery making experience at a local potter's studio in Shigaraki
- Visit local pottery artisans in Shigaraki and view their kilns and studios
- Stroll around quaint narrow streets in the old town centre of Shigaraki
- Leisurely countryside train ride on the Shigaraki Kogen (Highland) Railway
- Learning Japanese tea culture through a unique tea tasting experience
- Views of vast tea fields and a walk through them
The tour starts from Kyoto Station with taking JR (Japan Railway) eastward. 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)", you can enjoy good views of countryside landscape throughout the half hour leisurely trip to Shigaraki.
The train terminates at Shigaraki Station, which is the main gateway of our first destination, Shigaraki town, the home of the world famous "Shigaraki-yaki" (Shigaraki ware). Blessed with the special clay from the bed of ancient Lake Biwa, this hillside town has a centuries-long history in pottery making and is counted as one of the towns of Japan's "Six Old Kilns". The central area of Shigaraki retains nostalgic atmosphere of the old pottery town to this day: numbers of studios, galleries and local people's houses stand close together along the quaint narrow streets, and there still remain traditional-type kilns, "anagama" (literally "cave kiln") and "noborigama" (multi-chambered climbing kiln), here and there. On a stroll around the area, we visit some local pottery artisans, talk with them, and view their kilns, workshops, and galleries. Interestingly, in Shigaraki most of the studios and galleries are attached to the potter's residences so that you can not only see their workspaces but experience parts of the artisan families' daily life. Our walks ends up at the edge of the old town where we take a taxi to a restaurant for lunch (there are several options for lunch place).
Once you have seen a lot of pottery and learned about Shigaraki ware, you must be interested in making pottery by your own! Our next activity is inevitably pottery making in a local potter's studio. If you are a beginner, do not worry! Friendly pottery artisans will instruct you how to do. You are able to choose a color of glaze. The pieces you've made will be dried and fired, and delivered to you in your country one or two months (please note that the shipping fee is NOT included in the tour cost). After the pottery experience, we will have a break with coffee and some snack.
Afterwards, we take a taxi to the next and last destination, Asamiya, a village in a valley known as a production centre of one of the best tea leaves in Japan. Here we visit a local tea shop, where we will enjoy a short walk through tea farms, and a unique experience of tasting different types of tea (and other drink)! The tea master will introduce you how to make a good tea, and moreover, how deeply tea drinking habit are embedded in Japanese culture.
As the shadows lengthen, we leave Asamiya by bus. A 40 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.
JR Kyoto Station (Departure)
Train (Shigaraki Kogen Railway)
Town centre of Shigaraki
- Strolling around the town
- Visiting local potters' studios and galleries
- Pottery making experience at a potter's studio
- Short walk in a tea field
- Tea testing experience
JR Kyoto Station (Return)
- English-speaking tour conductor (licensed guide interpreter)
- Fee for pottery making and tea testing experience
- Fare for all transportation listed above
- 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.
- 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 three or four 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 wheel for pottery making, please contact us. It is available at an extra cost of several thousand yen per person.
- A few kinds of "tea activities" may be available at Asamiya depending on the season.
- From late October to February, the bus rides from Asamiya to Ishiyamadera is to be after the sunset.
- We walk about 2.5-3 km on this tour.
- Seats in public transportations are not guaranteed.
- Itinerary may change without earlier notice due to weather and transport conditions or any unforeseen circumstance(s).
Price (per person):
|No. of person(s)||Price|
Children under 5 are free of charge and not included in guest count.
- ¥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
Monday to Friday, except for national public holidays
Minimum 1 / Maximum 7
English (and of course Japanese)
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.
6:30 p.m. approx.