Tobe Ware


In the middle of the 18th century, the local clan head felt that it would be possible to improve clan finances by producing porcelain using a locally found kaolin. Potters experienced in the making of porcelain from the region of present-day Nagasaki Prefecture were brought to the area and this marked the beginning of porcelain making in Tobe.
From the end of the 19th century, there was an increase in the production of tableware for export to South East Asia. After the Second World War, however, things were to change. With advise from Soetsu Yanagi, the leader of the folkcraft movement, the area turned from the mass production of ceramics to the making of porcelain preserving the handmade, hand painted traditions of its roots.

Making the most of the warm qualities of the base material derived from locally obtained porcelain stone, this practical yet appealing ware is characterized by the tableware with its bold handpainted designs in a blue glaze, and the celadon porcelain flower vases with their soft coloring obtained by using a natural ash.


Typical products include white porcelain dishes with blue patterns applied in bold brushstrokes and made from a pottery stone found locally as well as flower vases in celadon porcelain colored with natural ash, combining practicality with warmth.

How to make

Pottery stones found locally are crushed, mixed with water, reduced to mud, and then separated into the clay that can be used for pottery and other components that will be discarded. The mud which has been sorted this way is dried and made into pottery clay and then molded into shape on a potter’s wheel. The pieces are then coated with a paint called “gosu” which will turn blue when baked, glazed and baked at a temperature of about 1,300 degrees.