One of the most famous towns for pottery
SHIGARAKI YAKI is one of the most famous and popular pottery in Japan. I have visited SHIGARAKI TOUGEI MURA (SHIGARAKI pottery village) which has a long history since 1888.
What is special about this place is that they have a big NOBORI GAMA (ascending kiln for firing ceramics) and some very old ANA GAMA (kiln made by digging a hole in the side of a hill) which are very rare at the present day. Surprisingly a part of this NOBORIGAMA is renovated and used as cafe called NOBORI GAMA Cafe” and you can enjoy some sweets with tea and coffee inside the kiln.
The well known symbol of this SHIGARAKI YAKI is TANUKI (Japanese raccoon dog) and there are so many ceramic ornaments of this TANUKI placed here and there in this village.
Here you can experience of making pottery. Actually a lot of visitors here participate this program and make their own potteries. I used to go to ceramics class in the past and made a lot of kinds of pottery by myself such as plates, bowls, and cups. Eating foods with your own hand-made plates is extremely wonderful and you can feel its taste much better.
There is also a shop which sells various kinds of SHIGARAKI YAKI. You can buy ceramic plates, bowls, cups, tea pots, flower vases etc as well as ornaments of TANUKI which are very attractive for your souvenir.
This pottery was built on a hill and you can take a walk around this hill. It’s quite calm and refreshing to walk around this old village with breathing clear air.
It’s a good experience that you touch the traditional Japanese culture of pottery here.
Fantastic SOBA restaurant.
I have heard that there is a very good Japanese SOBA restaurant near here. It is 15 to 20 minutes drive from SHIGARAKI TOUGEI MURA. The name of this restaurant is KURODA EN. The appearance of this restaurant is that they obviously should have a long history because it’s very old KOMINKA (Japanese old house), but somehow, it’s not felt like old old, but more like sophisticated and matured which SOBA lovers would prefer.
Once you go inside, you will notice that the interior is also like a Japanese traditional and typical old house, but at the same time it is well renovated and very clean. It is very comfortable and peaceful to sit inside.
I have ordered TEMPURA SOBA and NISHIN SOBA. Although it was too much for 1 person, but I wanted to try both the cold SOBA (which you eat it by dipping it in a sauce) and hot SOBA (which SOBA in a hot soup). In addition, I added TORORO (grated yam) for cold SOBA so that I could enjoy TORORO SOBA at the same time. Needless to say, both were super delicious, and I was quite satisfied. As you might be aware of, when you eat cold SOBA, SOBA YU (water used to cook SOBA) is usually served together. Once you finish eating SOBA, let’s pour this SOBA YU onto the sauce and drink it. It is how the SOBA lovers do and very good for your health.
Taste ASAMIYA CHA with sweets.
ASAMIYA CHA (ASAMIYA Tea) is known as one of the Five Greatest Teas of Japan and it is cultivated around here. Right after leaving KURODA EN SOBA Restaurant, I coincidentally found the tea shop of ASAMIYA CHA right in front of this SOBA restaurant. Of course, my only choice was to have dessert with this ASAMIYA tea here.
The interior is very clean and what surprised me was that the staff was super kind and full of hospitality. The shop sells wide varieties of tea leafs and tea sweets which should be suitable as your souvenir. There is a rest area as well and you can enjoy eating tea sweets with drinking ASAMIYA tea.
We have ordered a roll cake (Swiss role) and Matcha tiramisu. For drink, we have ordered both hot ASAMIYA tea and cold ASAMIYA tea because we wanted to try both. The staff kindly taught us how to pour hot water to server, how many seconds we need to wait for the best taste of the tea, how to pour tea to the cup, and so on. It took a little time, but during waiting, time passed very slowly and peacefully, and that made me feel it much more tasty.
After enjoying this precious time, we went outside of the shop. There is a path with bamboo trees on both sides and there is a nice garden down this path. You can see the a beautiful tea plantation of ASAMIYA tea from this garden. The tea I just drank might had been picked up from here. I became happier with imagining like this.