Kutani-yaki is a traditional style of porcelain which is notable for its deep, vivid coloring and highly detailed and elaborate designs of flowers and birds. The Kaburaki Kutani Porcelain Shop & Museum in Kanazawa’s Nagamachi district holds a shop, a café, and a small exhibition area where you can view some fine antique pieces of this colorful local ceramic ware. Even if you aren’t tempted to buy some souvenirs here, it is an interesting place to explore while strolling through this historic area of old Kanazawa.
About Kutani-yaki Pottery
Kutani-yaki originated in a village called Kutani in Ishikawa Prefecture in the 17th century and was revived in Kanazawa in the early 19th century by the ruling Maeda family. Several styles developed but they are all marked by intricate designs and a lively use of deep colorings such as red, green, yellow, purple, and blue. Some people say that the vivacious coloring of kutani pottery is a direct response to the long winters and often overcast skies in Kanazawa!
About the Kaburaki Shop & Museum
Although it is often advertised as “Kanazawa Kutani Museum” in English, in reality this fine old establishment is primarily a shop and café with a small exhibition area. In Japanese the shop is called Kutani-yaki Kamamoto Kaburaki Shoho which means The Kutani Pottery Kaburaki Shop. It was here in 1822 that Jisuke Kaburaki opened the very first kutani pottery shop. Over the years Kaburaki Kutani products gained a reputation for excellence both at home and abroad. Today the eighth generation of the family, Motoyoshi Kaburaki, continues this family business.
The Kaburaki Shop and Museum is one of the best places in Kanazawa to get an overview of kutani styles over the last two hundred years. The exhibition room displays antique pieces made in the kaburaki kiln in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the shop you can of course find more modern items that you may want to take home with you as a souvenir of Kanazawa. The café and tea room offers customers the appetizing chance to eat local Kanazawa cuisine on kutani ceramic ware. Above all else this demonstrates that kutani ceramics are not only pieces of art but practical items that are meant to be used and enjoyed on a daily basis. The café section which overlooks a traditional garden is open from 10.00 to 17.30 and 18.00 to 21.30.
The Kaburaki Shop & Museum is in Kanazawa’s historic Nagamachi district. To get there from Kanazawa Station, take a Left Loop Bus from bus stop #7 at the east exit bus terminal, and get off at the Korinbo bus stop. The fare is 200 yen and it takes 7 minutes. From Korinbo it is a 5 minute walk to the Kaburaki Shop & Museum.
Open: 9.00 – 22.00 (until 18.00 on Sundays and national holidays)
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.