To pottery lovers, Yomitan Pottery Village in Okinawa, Japan is a mecca. While I am not a huge fan of the art, my short trip to this pottery hub taught me efficiency and patience – two big words commonly associated with the Japanese culture.
Pottery in Okinawa began as an attempt to reproduce the pots imported around Southeast Asia and some Korean potters taught the technique in the 16th-17th century. Most potters settled and built their shops around Tsuboya, Naha City which until today the place is still famous for. The city residents, however got tired of the black smoke from the traditional kilns and had to look for alternative location for the artisans. The answer lies 15 miles north of Naha City in a quiet village in Yomitan where about forty-five potters showcase their masterpieces. Not only did they got away from city hassle but also provided convenience for the patrons to fancy intricate work of art all in one stop instead of driving and chasing around the entire island for different shops.
Pottery is a long yet fulfilling process. One has to prepare the clay mixture, shape the clay, decorate and glaze, and then bake it. Several chambers are in the area but the most famous one is the “climbing kiln” which has a number of linked chambers built along a sloping hill with each chamber fired with pine wood for two days and cooled off for another two then the wares are unloaded. The process is long but when done, a beautiful masterpiece is created. Even ceramics agree that patience is truly a virtue.
This pottery village is not only enjoyed by the potters but also of fine arts artists like painters who come to breathe the timeless beauty of Okinawa. This island is never too small for everyone to enjoy.
Check on Google Street View below for an additional information and perspective on Yomitan Pottery Village: