Ohi Pottery is a very specific type of pottery that has been made by one family in Kanazawa for 350 years. The Ohi Pottery Museum and Gallery is housed in their old family residence and provides an excellent introduction to this local ceramic tradition.
About Ohi Pottery
Ohi ceramics are primarily made for use in the tea ceremony and they are all personally made by members of the Ohi family. The potters do not use a wheel, but shape the clay with their hands and special spatula-like tools that are handed down from generation to generation. The ceramics are made from soft clay and fired at unusually low temperatures. Once glazed and completed these works are distinctive for their simple artistry and the soft glow of their colors.
The history of Ohi pottery goes back to 1666 when Lord Maeda Tsunanori, the fifth lord of the ruling Maeda family, invited a tea master called Senso Soshitsu to Kanazawa. Senso Soshitsu brought along a potter named Chozaemon who began to make tea bowls. Chozaemon found that the best local clay was in a village near Kanazawa called Ohi, and so Ohi became the name of both his family and their pottery. Since that time each master of the Ohi generation has taken the name Chozaemon, so the current master is the 10th Ohi Chozaemon. You can see and buy the works of the 10th Ohi Chozaemon and his son Ohi Toshio in the Ohi Gallery.
This modern gallery and the connected café area were designed by the renowned architect Kengo Kuma. Here for a fee you can enjoy a cup of green tea in an original Ohi tea bowl that you select yourself. The tea is served with a traditional local sweet. This building is also attached to an old samurai residence that is officially designated by the city as a site of historical importance.
The Ohi Museum behind the gallery displays famous works by each generation of the Ohi family as well as old family heirlooms and antiques.
Ohi Pottery Museum and Gallery is located in the Hashiba-cho area of Kanazawa and is a 1 minute walk from the Hashiba-cho bus stop. To get there from Kanazawa Station take a Right Loop bus from bus stop #7 at the east exit bus terminal. The fare is 200 yen and it takes 10 minutes to get to the Hashiba-cho bus stop.
Open: 9.00 – 17.00
Tea Service: Adults: 1,000 yen, Elementary & Junior High Students: 700 yen
Museum Entrance Fee: Adults: 700 yen (with tea: 1,500 yen), Elementary & Junior High Students: 500 yen (with tea: 1,300 yen)
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.