Kutani, the art of Japanese ceramics

06 Jan 2017 in So Design

Discover this very delicate craft that accompanies and enhances Japanese gastronomy.


The origins of Kutani pottery date back to the Early Edo (1655) period. This craft developed in the cities in the south of Ishikawa prefecture (located on the coast of the Japan sea, in the middle of Honshu island).

A unique style

Kutani ceramic

Kutani ceramics are recognisable by their bright colours: yellow, green, purple, red and blue, and their original designs. The pattern is drawn onto white pottery or porcelain with a brush dipped in a pigment made out or natural stones, then each design is coloured, before baking the piece in a kiln at about 800°.

Kutani pottery

The baking process brings a brilliance and a depth to the colours that give the item its charm and beauty. There are three distinct periods in the manufacture of ceramics: Ko-Kutani, Saikō Kutani and Kutani, and these have given rise to six different styles. The oldest are Ko-Kutani ceramics, characterised by their flowing lines and the use of five colours.

The revival

After a brief halt in manufacture during the 18th century, production resumed with the opening of new kilns, each with its own style of painting. The Kasugayama kiln in the city of Kanazawa embodies this renaissance with a “Chinese style” design, called Mokubei, that picks up the use of five colours, but the designs here have a red background.

Mokubei kutani

The Yoshidaya kiln, which uses only four colours and rarely red, has very intricate designs. The style of the Eiraku kiln can be identified by the finesse of its designs in gold on a red background. Another one, the Saishiki Kinrande style, is a legacy of the painter Shoza (who has mainly contributed to make Kutani ceramic famous), mixing styles and using contemporary paintings.

Ceramicists’ shops

The city of Yamashiro Onsen has many pottery and ceramics shops, within just a few minutes of Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga.

Spa hotel japan

In these shops you will discover wonderful wonders, and you can be initiated into decorative glazes and the manufacture of pieces by a master potter.

Japanese art pottery



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