My practice flower arrangement in my Kutani vase

Travellog of Japanese Kilns: Kutani (九月23年)
Nothing less than unbroken continuity
The Town of Kutani Ware

Kutani ware was started in the first part of the Edo period when the first lord of Daishouji Domain MAEDA Toshiharu ordered GOTOU Saijirou to construct a kiln at Kutani Town in Old Enuma County. A stone monument marking the ruins of the old Kutani kiln remains even today in the mountains near Yamanaka Hot Springs. The charm of the diverse styles that Kutani ware is classified into is the unspeakable splendour of the decorations. Today, let us visit Old Enuma County (Kaga City), where individually hand fired, hand painted works continue to be made.

To understand Kutani ware, the first place we want to visit is the Ishikawa Prefecture’s Kutani Ware Art Museum near Daishouji Station on the JR Hokuriku main line. The styles of aede, iroe/gosaite, and akae/kinrande are divided into separated exhibition rooms. As they take into consideration the ease of view of visitors and the context of the period in which each artist was born, we can enjoy the works in a comfortable atmosphere. Where we want to visit next is the Kutani Ware Kiln Ruin’s Exhibition Hall, about 20 minutes away by car alongside the Sendai Hot Springs town. Having operated for about 50 years, the suddenly closed kiln was to be truly restored,  and a wealthy merchant of Daishouji Domain, TOYOTA Den’emon of Furuta-ya revived the kiln in Kutani Town in Bunsei 7 (1824). After 2 years, the kiln moved to this location. After that, on top of improvements, until Showa 15, because many famed works were made with this kiln’s mark, it became intimatly involved with various arts like ikebana and chanoyu. Over 70 years old, he passes down his warm memories of staking his life on the restoration of old kutani.

It says “kutani” 「九谷」 to the right on the bottom

Continuing, if you want to experience the, shall we say, splendour of kutani ware painting, we recommend the resident gallery CoCO of the young artists, Mr. and Mrs. Naoto IKEJIMA. Also, if you tired from all that walking, it might be lovely to wash away your weary at old public bath which as been restored to it’s Meiji period condition. Tiles in the bathing room decorated by the kutani founder SUDA Seika, having been restored by modern artists, are greatly impressive. To tie up the end of the trip, enjoy a drink at Bar Swing, which uses kutani dishes all over the place. It will flood you with thoughts of the romance of kutani ware’s history’s many remaining mysteries.


九谷焼は、江戸前期に大聖寺藩初代藩主・前田利治が後藤才次郎に命じて旧江沼郡九谷村に窯を築かせたことに始まるとされ、現在でも山中温泉の山中に「古久谷窯址」の石碑が残されています。多彩な様式に分類される九谷焼の魅力は、何といっても華麗に施された絵付けです。今回は、手焼き、手描きで 一品
ずつの製作を続ける旧江沼郡(加賀市)を訪ねました。 九谷焼を知る上でまず訪れたいのが、JR北陸本線大聖寺駅からほど近い石川県九谷焼美術館です。青手、色絵・五彩手、赤絵・金襴手と様式別に区分けされた展示室は、各作風が生まれた時代背景や来館者の見やすさを考慮したつくりで、ゆったりとした雰囲気の中で作品を味わうことができます。次に訪ねたいのは、美術館から車で約二十分、山代温泉郷に位置する九谷焼窯跡展示館です。 操業約五十年で突如閉窯した窯を本格的に再興するべく、大聖寺藩の豪商、古田屋・豊田伝右衛門が九谷村に窯を興したのが文政7年(1824)。その二年後に窯を移したのがこの地です。爾来、改修を重ねて昭和15年まで多くの名品を生んだ窯跡からは、生花や茶の湯など諸芸に親しみ、七十歳を過ぎてから古九谷再興に人生を懸けた老翁の熱い思いが伝わるようです。