Seto & Nagakute

Where Japanese ceramics began, and an ancient battlefield from the Warring States period

Seto City, located in Aichi Prefecture, japan, is known for its rich history and long-standing tradition of ceramic production. With a history spanning over 1,000 years, Seto is considered one of the most important ceramic production centers in Japan. The city’s connection to ceramics is so strong that a generic Japanese word for ceramics, “setomono,” actually means “products of Seto.”

The history of ceramics in Seto can be traced back to the 13th century, when Korean potters brought their expertise to Japan. These skilled artisans settled in Seto and began producing ceramics using techniques that were new to Japan at the time. The unique combination of Korean techniques and Japanese aesthetics resulted in the development of a distinct style of ceramics known as Seto ware.

Seto ware is characterized by its beautiful glazes, which range from vibrant colors to subtle earth tones. The glazes are created using a variety of methods, including ash glazing, iron glazing, and celadon glazing. Each method produces a different effect, resulting in a diverse range of ceramic styles.

To learn more about the history of Seto ware and the techniques used in its production, visitors can visit the Setogura Museum. The museum features exhibits of Seto ware from various periods, allowing visitors to see the evolution of the craft over time. Additionally, the museum offers easy-to-understand displays that explain the history of Seto ceramics from its origins to the present day.

One of the unique aspects of Seto is that it is one of the only cities in the world that produces both ceramics and porcelain. While ceramics are made from clay, porcelain is made from a type of clay that contains a higher percentage of a mineral called kaolin. Seto has a long history of porcelain production as well, and visitors can explore this aspect of the city’s ceramic industry at the Seto Porcelain Museum.

In addition to visiting museums, visitors to Seto can also try their hand at pottery making and bisque-painting at the Ceramic Craft Studio. This hands-on experience allows visitors to learn about the techniques used in ceramic production and create their own unique pieces of pottery.

Apart from its rich ceramic heritage, Seto is also known for its connection to the Warring States period of Japanese history. During this turbulent time, warlords fought for control of Japan, and one of the most significant battles of the period took place in Nagakute, a city located near Seto.

The Battle of Komaki-Nagakute, which was waged in 1584, was a pivotal moment in Japanese history. The battle was fought between the forces of Hashiba Hideyoshi (later known as Toyotomi Hideyoshi) and Tokugawa Ieyasu, two powerful warlords who were vying for control of Japan after the death of the daimyo Oda Nobunaga.

Hideyoshi’s army made the first move at Komaki, where they fought against Nobunaga’s second son, Oda Nobukatsu, who was supported by Ieyasu’s forces. The battle then moved to Nagakute, where a major confrontation took place on April 9, 1584. The fighting was fierce, and many samurai warriors lost their lives.

Although the Tokugawa forces emerged victorious in the battle, Hideyoshi was able to consolidate his power and eventually become the ruler of Japan. The Battle of Komaki-Nagakute marked a turning point in Japanese history and set the stage for the unification of the country under Hideyoshi’s rule.

Today, visitors to Nagakute can explore the sites and monuments related to the battle. These sites have been designated as National Historic Sites and offer a glimpse into the tumultuous history of the Warring States period. Additionally, Nagakute is home to the Toyota Automobile Museum, which showcases a collection of around 140 automobiles from the late 19th century to the present day.

To visit Seto and Nagakute, travelers can take the train from Nagoya Station. Seto is accessible via the JR Chuo Line and the Meitetsu Seto Line, while Nagakute can be reached by taking the Higashiyama subway line and then transferring to the Linimo monorail line.

In conclusion, Seto City and Nagakute City in Aichi Prefecture offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore both the rich history of Japanese ceramics and the tumultuous period of the Warring States. Seto’s long-standing tradition of ceramic production and its connection to Seto ware and porcelain make it a must-visit destination for art and history enthusiasts. Meanwhile, Nagakute’s significance in Japanese history as the site of the Battle of Komaki-Nagakute provides a fascinating glimpse into the country’s past. Whether you’re interested in ceramics or history, a visit to Seto and Nagakute is sure to be an enriching and memorable experience.

Address And Maps Location:

Seto-shi, Aichi-ken

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