Pottery and ceramics have been a part of Japan’s artisanal tradition since the Jomon period (10,500 – 300 BC), and because of that long history, unique characteristics have developed over the years. Certain brands of Japanese pottery are coveted around the world. A few examples of this popular pottery from Japan are Arita ware, Saga ware, and Mino ware. You can even find complete villages dedicated to the craft of pottery! Kintsugi is a special technique in which you fix a broken piece of pottery using gold, making it even more beautiful than before. Can you think of a better way to get acquainted with Japanese traditional crafts than by trying your hand on making your own? In this article we will introduce some of the best pottery classes in Tokyo!
Pottery Class in Tokyo
In this workshop on the west side of Tokyo, the friendly staff will help you make a piece of pottery you will be able to treasure forever. You can choose to make a hand coiled piece, slab pottery with coloring, or slab pottery without coloring. You will also have the chance to design your piece of art with stamps and textured cloth. To finish off your work, the studio will glaze and fire your piece for you in your chosen color and glaze type. This class is great for people of all ages and can be a great family activity!
Uzumako Ceramic Art School
Uzumako Ceramic Art School located near Tokyo Tower has all the equipment you need to craft all different kinds of ceramics. They teach beginners and people with more experience, and you can practice skills such as sculpting, using the wheel, and hand building. You can choose between a trial lesson, a short course, a longer course, and even lessons for kids. If you’d prefer to learn from home, they even have an online course you can partake in!
Classes: Uzumako Ceramic Art School
Kintsugi Experience in Tokyo
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of taking something that broke, and giving it a second life as an even more beautiful ceramic piece. In Japanese culture, kintsugi can often be seen as embracing and appreciating the imperfection in art. If a treasured piece breaks but is still in a few bigger pieces, you can glue the pieces back together with lacquer dusted with gold powder. In this special Kintsugi experience in Tokyo, you will repair a broken piece of pottery with gold while wearing traditional Japanese craftsmen attire. Of course, you will get to take your good-as-new(if not better) pottery piece home with you as well.
Class: Kintsugi Experience in Tokyo
Japanese Pottery in Omotesando
Omotesando is a chique shopping street with stores that carry all the famous brands, and in the middle of this fancy neighborhood you can find a small studio where you can partake in a fun pottery workshop. Wearing the traditional garments of Japan’s craftsmen, you will either create a chopstick rest or a ceramic cup. The professional instructor will guide you step-by-step, so your piece will turn out great and ready for you to use or give as a gift.
Edo Kiriko Japanese Glass Workshop
You may be familiar with Edo Kiriko glass as it is famous throughout the world as beautiful ornamental glasses that people like to use for a special drink or when guests come over. It originated in Tokyo around 200 years ago, when the city was still called Edo. The glass is cut with intricate patterns, and while they are originally clear you can also choose a colored glass if you prefer that. Although glass may not be considered “pottery”, we decided to add this class because it is an amazing and rare experience you can only have in the Tokyo area that you don’t hear about every day. In this class, you can cut the glass yourself under guidance of experienced craftsmen and then you will be able to take your beautiful piece home with you.
Ceramics Experience (molding only course)
Maybe you would really like to try molding shapes with clay to see what kind of figures you are capable of making, but you don’t feel like actually bringing them home with you. Or maybe you already have a full cabinet of pottery, or it is just inconvenient to take a heavy piece of pottery home with you if you are traveling. If that’s the case then this ceramics experience in which you will get the opportunity to mold clay to your heart’s content using a device you rotate by hand or an electric rotator. There will be no finished product to bring home, so you can just enjoy getting familiar with the art of clay molding without having to worry about perfection.
To get the most out of your trip and enjoy it to its fullest, it can be great to include some hands-on experiences. Workshops are a great way to gain understanding of a region’s traditional crafts. Besides, in many workshops you get to keep what you make which means that you will have a unique and memorable souvenir to take home with you. And if you’re looking to add more special travel experiences such as food tours, a Mt Fuji Hiking tour, or a customizable tour of Tokyo’s highlights, we’ve got you covered too! There are so many great ways to experience Tokyo and taking a fun and educational pottery class is a great way to learn more about Japan and Japanese culture. We hope you can join some of these pottery classes in the future!
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Stefanie Akkerman moved from the Netherlands to Japan in 2013 with her Japanese husband and son. She jumped into the niche of Dutch tour guiding in Tokyo and Kamakura in 2015 and occasionally writes articles about all the great sights and activities Japan has to offer. She loves (Japanese) food, and to work that all off she goes diving, snorkeling, cycling, or hiking.
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