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Kiyomizu-yaki (清水焼- Kiyomizu ware) is a traditional type of pottery that has its origins in the Momoyama era (1568 – 1600) when Kyoto became a major center of pottery production. Kiyomizu-yaki takes its name from Kiyomizu Temple, because in the past there were many kilns in the Gojozaka area that leads up to that temple. Today most of the kilns are based in outlying areas such as Yamashina and Sumiyama, but Gojozaka is still lined with around 400 pottery stores selling beautiful rice bowls, tea utensils, tableware, incense burners, and decorative ceramics. This is a particularly refined and elegant style of pottery featuring exquisite colors and outstanding craftmanship. You will often see the term Kiyomizu-yaki paired with Kyo-yaki (京焼- Kyoto ware) which is a general term for pottery made in Kyoto. Kyo-yaki and Kiyomizu-yaki are together nationally designated as traditional handicrafts of Japan.
Gojozaka Pottery Festival
One of Kyoto’s many fine summer traditions is the Gojozaka Pottery Festival which is held each year between August 7th and 10th. During this festival local vendors set up their stalls on Gojo Street all the way between the Kawabata and Higashioji boulevards. Each stall is piled high with a wide variety of ceramics, there are bargains galore, beautiful discoveries to be found, and a celebratory spirit in the air. First held in 1920, this is one of Japan’s major ceramics events and attracts around 400,000 visitors a year. Sadly, this year (2020) the festival had to be cancelled, but I have set up my own virtual pottery stall below which will give you some flavor of the sheer variety available within Kiyomizu-yaki. All the products shown below are genuine hand-crafted works from Kyoto and you can click on each image to learn more on the individual Amazon page.
Naturally, the range of products available below is somewhat limited, as many fine vendors and brands of Kyo-yaki choose not to sell their wares via other online retailers. Tachikichi is one such prominent local brand of Kyo-yaki that can ship their products overseas, but unfortunately, they do not have ordering information available in English. If you would like to purchase the ceramic products of Tachikichi or other famous Kyoto brands, our Deep Kyoto Concierge can help you choose suitable products, advise you on prices, and help you place your order. Simply contact us at the following address and let us know the details of your request: deepkyotoconcierge[@]gmail.com