Learn to Make and Use a Wood-Fired Kiln (5.5hrs)
Built on a hill overlooking Karatsu Bay, Kentaro Kiln was opened in 2008 by Kentaro Murayama, an up-and-coming maker of Karatsu ware. Murayama collects all of the raw materials for his clay and glazes in the surrounding mountains, and has researched the ideal firing temperatures and methods for each material. Through this research, Murayama has developed a unique clay that can be fired in half a day instead of the usual two. In this completely novel pottery experience, chop firewood, build a kiln, and be a part of the moment when ceramics are born from the kiln’s flame.
- ● Experience everything from chopping firewood to making a kiln, painting glaze to firing pottery, all in one day
- ● Take your finished pottery home after the tour
- ● Indulge in the workshop’s picturesque view, which overlooks Karatsu Bay and the Nijinomatsubara Rainbow Pine Grove
- ● Enjoy and purchase Kentaro Kiln’s work at their gallery
Pottery Loved by Tea Ceremony Masters
Karatsu ware is a pottery produced in the eastern part of Saga Prefecture and the northern part of Nagasaki Prefecture. The tradition is said to have originated in the 1580s from the Hata clan, lord of Kishidake Castle. The pottery later spread from the port of Karatsu to Kyoto, Osaka, and other parts of western Japan. It became so popular that the pottery was collectively referred to as Karatsu mono, the “things of Karatsu.” As exemplified by a common saying in the tea ceremony world that ranks pottery traditions, “First Raku [ware], second Hagi [ware], and third Karatsu [ware],” Karatsu ware is also a favorite of tea ceremony practitioners.
In Pursuit of Modern Functional Beauty: Kentaro Kiln
Kentaro Murayama, the owner of Kentaro Kiln, creates a unique materiality in the kiln’s work through repeated research on clays and glaze, rooted in the traditional techniques of ancient Karatsu. With the aim of achieving a modern “functional beauty,” the kiln’s relatively simple and familiar style results in pottery that can at once be used in traditional tea ceremonies, but also incorporated into everyday life. All the raw materials that go into the vessels, such as clay and glaze, are collected on walks in the surrounding mountains.
A Taste of Ancient Pottery-Making Techniques
First choose from a selection of unglazed vessels on which to paint your own design. Then move on to this program’s highlight, building and using a wood-fired kiln. Watch as an artisan skillfully raises the kiln’s temperature by controlling flames with the power of wind, creating mesmerizing changes to the fire’s color and sound. The colors and patterns of the pottery change depending on their placement within the kiln, along with how the flames strike each vessel’s clay and glaze. This process brings to mind the more ancient methods of pottery-making that were widespread even before the beginning of Karatsu ware.
Enjoy a Luxurious Moment Overlooking Karatsu Bay
While your pottery is being fired, relax in the workshop with a cup of tea while enjoying a luxurious moment overlooking Karatsu Bay and the Nijinomatsubara Pine Grove. Watch the kiln’s steady flames, browse the Kentaro Kiln gallery, and listen to stories about Karatsu Ware. After firing is complete, gently shape the pottery with sandpaper to complete the process.
A short 10-minute drive from Kentaro Kiln is Arutokoro, a restaurant featured in TRAVEL UNA Issue 2. We recommend their lunch course made with seasonal ingredients, served on Karatsu ware (advance reservations are necessary).
Japanese●Supplementary explanations in English via translation device or lecture board can be provided upon request. Please make a note in the message box during registration to request this service.※An English interpreter can also be arranged for an additional fee. Please contact UNA Laboratories for more details.
Minimum number of participants: 2 / Maximum number of participants: 6
10 days before the start of the tour (for example, please apply by October 1st for a tour that starts on October 10th)
Advance payment at the time of reservation (VISA, Mastercard, Amex, JCB)
Please wear clothes you won’t mind getting dirty.
3 to 1 day(s) preceding the tour start date: 50% of the tour fee
Travel Planning: Implementation
- UNA Laboratories Inc. (Fukuoka Prefectural Governor Registration #2-951)
- 3-12-22-302 Yakuin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0022
- TEL: 092-982-7956E-MAIL: email@example.com
- Domestic Certified Travel Supervisors:
Aya Tamura, Noriko Yahata, Rei Watanabe
- Business Hours:
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (Closed Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays)
- *Requests received outside of business hours will be processed the following business day.
- *Domestic Certified Travel Supervisors are responsible for transactions held at the sales office that processes customers’ travel. Please do not hesitate to contact the aforementioned Domestic Certified Travel Supervisors with any questions or concerns regarding the travel contract.