The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park

Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park: A Journey through the Ancient Art of Pottery


Shigaraki, located in Shiga Prefecture, japan, is renowned for its rich history and tradition in pottery making. The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park stands as a testament to the region’s artistic heritage, showcasing ancient ceramics that have been passed down through generations. This cultural park not only offers a glimpse into the past but also provides visitors with an opportunity to engage in the artistic experience themselves. From fine art to furry friends, the park offers a diverse range of ceramic creations that captivate the imagination. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of the park, from its historical significance to the unique tanuki statues that have become synonymous with Shigaraki.

The History of Shigaraki Pottery

The history of Shigaraki pottery dates back to the 13th century, during the Kamakura period. It was during this time that the unique properties of Shigaraki clay were discovered, making it an ideal material for crafting tea utensils. The color and quality of the clay quickly gained popularity, and Shigaraki became known as one of the six great pottery regions of Japan. The pottery produced in Shigaraki is characterized by its warm colors and the “wabi-sabi” aesthetic, which celebrates simplicity and imperfection.

Exploring the Park

Visitors to the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park are greeted with a wide array of ceramic creations, ranging from traditional art pieces to everyday household items. The park aims to provide an immersive experience, allowing visitors to not only admire the artwork but also learn about the history and culture of various ceramic arts. The park features a museum dedicated to ceramics, showcasing both industrial projects and works of art. Additionally, there is an exhibition hall that presents the “present” of Shigaraki ware, highlighting the contemporary relevance of this ancient craft.

For those looking to get their hands dirty, the park offers pottery classes for the public. These classes provide a unique opportunity to learn from experienced ceramic artists and create your own masterpiece. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced potter, the classes cater to all skill levels. The park also provides facilities for domestic and international ceramic artists to stay and work, fostering a creative and collaborative environment.

Don’t Miss: Wabi-Sabi of Shigaraki Pottery

One of the highlights of a visit to the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park is learning about the wabi-sabi of Shigaraki pottery. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic concept that values imperfection and embraces the beauty of natural materials. Shigaraki pottery embodies this philosophy, with its rustic charm and organic forms. The park offers guided tours and workshops that delve into the essence of wabi-sabi, allowing visitors to appreciate the subtle beauty of imperfection in ceramic art.

Picking up a Piece of Pottery

As you wander through the park, you’ll come across numerous pottery pieces that are sure to catch your eye. Each piece is unique, reflecting the individual style and creativity of the artist. Whether it’s a delicate tea bowl or a whimsical sculpture, the craftsmanship and attention to detail are evident in every creation. Visitors have the opportunity to purchase these one-of-a-kind pieces, taking home a tangible memento of their visit to Shigaraki.

The Noborigama: An Ingenious Climbing Kiln

Another fascinating aspect of the park is the noborigama, an ingenious climbing kiln used for firing ceramics. This traditional kiln consists of multiple chambers stacked on top of each other, allowing for a controlled and efficient firing process. The noborigama at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the past. Visitors can witness the firing process and gain insight into the techniques used to create these beautiful ceramic pieces.

Unique Tanuki Statues in Shigaraki

Shigaraki is not only known for its fine pottery but also for its iconic tanuki statues. The tanuki, or raccoon dog, is a forest critter that holds a special place in Japanese folklore. In Shigaraki, you’ll often come across ceramic tanuki statues outside bars and izakaya, inviting passersby to have a drink. These statues are adorned with a goofy, inebriated smile, believed to bring good luck. Whether big or small, these tanuki statues have become a symbol of Shigaraki’s charm and playfulness.

How to Get There

Getting to the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park is relatively easy. If you’re coming from Kyoto, you can take the JR Biwako Line to Kusatsu and then transfer to the Kusatsu Line to Kibukawa. From Kibukawa, you can hop on the Shigaraki Kohgen Railway to Shigaraki Station. Once you arrive at Shigaraki Station, you can either walk to the park or take a short five-minute bus ride on the Koka City Community Bus Service.


The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park offers a captivating journey through the world of pottery, showcasing the rich history and artistic heritage of the region. From ancient ceramics to contemporary art pieces, the park provides a comprehensive overview of Shigaraki’s pottery tradition. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or simply curious about Japanese culture, a visit to this cultural park is a must. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Shigaraki pottery, learn about the wabi-sabi aesthetic, and perhaps even try your hand at creating your own ceramic masterpiece.

Address And Maps Location:

2188-7 Shigarakicho Chokushi, Koka-shi, Shiga-ken

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