Pottery town Mashiko
Mashiko 益子 is a town located in the south east area of Tochigi prefecture, approximately 140km away from the central Tokyo. Producing quality clay, Mashiko has developed as a pottery town known for Mashiko-yaki pottery, where many potters have studios and many kinds of potteries are sold at stores. The number of the pottery studios and the stores reaches nearly 350 in all.
Mashiko Pottery Market 益子陶器市
Since 1966, Mashiko Pottery Market is held twice a year, for about 10 days in spring, and 4 or 5 days in autumn. Not only from Mashiko town, pottery artists and venders from all over Japan also join the market to sell various potteries. This popular market is so large that it will take one day to look around all the stalls there. It is recommended to visit early in the morning (It starts at 9:00AM) as it also gets crowded in the afternoon. During the 11-day event in spring 2014, more than 400,000 people visited the market.
The best market to get "Mai(My)-Ochawan", a personal rice bowl
While staying with a Japanese family, having dinner together at their house, you will soon notice that the Japanese has her/his own chopsticks and rice bowl (Ochawan), and it is almost like a taboo to use those of others, even people in the family. It seems Japanese people have a strong attachment for their own everyday dinnerware. Whatever else it might be, finding a very favorite ones at pottery markets is an attraction for Japanese people, and it will of course be a fun for anybody.
Sushi plates, Ramen bowls and Sake bottles…Stylish, authentic Japanese Tableware can be found there.
Getting there from Tokyo
By Train | From Ikebukuro 池袋
Approx. 2 hour 30 min, 2250 JP Yen in total.
JR Ikebukuro station (JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line 1hr 16min) --to-- JR Oyama station 小山駅(JR Mito-sen Line 水戸線 23min.) --to-- Shimodate station 下館駅of Mooka Tetsudo Railway真岡鐵道(41min.) --to- Mashiko station 益子駅 - 15min-walk to the market place
* Mooka Testudo Railway operates locomotives (SL) once a day on weekends and national holidays.
Mooka Testudo Time Table - Mashiko (Japanese)
Time Table by JR (Japanese)
JR Shonan Shinjuku Line bound for Utsunomiya
By Train and Bus | From Ikebukuro 池袋
Approx. 2 hour 30 min, 3090 JP Yen in total.
JR Ikebukuro station (JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line 湘南新宿ライン 1hr 31min. 1940 Yen) --to-- JR Utsunomiya station 宇都宮駅
From Utsunomiya station (West Ext), take Touya Bus東野バスbound for Mashiko station 益子駅 (1 hour ride 1150 Yen) - 15min-walk to the market place
*The bus runs every one hour or so.
Time Table by Noya bus service
By Bus from Akihabara 秋葉原
2 hour 45 min 2000 Yen
* It runs only once in the morning (departs at 8:20. (As of 10.2014))
The buse departs from the bus terminal in front of Yodobashi Akiba Building
Take the bus Kanto Yakimono Liner bound for Mashiko Station. Get off at "Tougei Messe Iriguchi 陶芸メッセ入口" (next to the last stop "Mashiko stn".) so you don’t have to walk from Mashiko station. There is a tourist information office near the bus stop.Yakimono Liner Bus (Japanese website)
Mashiko Location Map by Mashiko town tourist association
PDF Maps (Maps and guide books in English)
http://www.town.mashiko.tochigi.jp/ (In Japanese)