One of Japan’s most important ancient kiln towns, Tokoname has been a centre of pottery production since the Heian Period. It boasts excellent museums and walking trails showcasing its ceramic industry, together with artisan shops where you can purchase your own pottery.
Things to do in Tokoname
Follow the Pottery Footpath through Tokoname’s historic centre and past many of the city’s historic kilns and modern-day galleries. Hundreds of maneki-neko “lucky” cats will greet you at the beginning of the path before leading to the historic street of Dokan Zaka, which is lined with walls of earthenware pipes and bottles.
Visit the INAX Tile Museum, which explores the global history and development of decorative tiles. Admire reproductions of clay peg walls from ancient Mesopotamian civilisations and an Islamic dome ceiling, together with Egyptian tiles dating back more than 4,500 years.
Also within the INAX museum complex is the Kiln Plaza where you can learn about the history of Tokoname clay pipes and see Meiji Period toilets. It’s topped by a soaring chimney dating back to 1921 and has been Heritage listed in recognition of its significance to the city’s industrial history.
After exploring Tokoname’s ceramic-related landmarks, spend some time browsing the local pottery galleries to pick up souvenirs. Tokoname’s artisans have long been renowned for producing the city’s signature redware, as well as high-quality traditional Japanese teapots.
Getting around Tokoname
Tokoname is around 30 minutes by train from the centre of Nagoya and just 10 minutes’ boat ride from Chubu Centrair International Airport. Tokoname is easy to explore on foot and walking guides are available at the main tourist office.