Walking on Drift Ice
Bizen ware, which originated in the village of Imbe in Okayama Prefecture (formerly Bizen Province), boasts over 1,000 years of history and is produced using Japan’s oldest pottery-making method, which is one the country’s six ancient pottery styles. Bizen ware is neither glazed nor painted, and its color is expressive of the earth from which it comes. It is created by using either a mixture of two kinds of clays with different densities or rough reddish brown clay rich in iron.
The clay used to create Bizen ware is placed in a climbing kiln (or a tunnel kiln) and fired with pine wood used as fuel. The firing method is unique as it is done slowly over longer periods, often between eight and twenty days. What is amazing about Bizen ware is the fact that no two pieces are ever alike, and the secret behind this is the placement of the clay in the kiln, which determines the conditions in which the clay is fired and gives each piece its one-of-a-kind finish. The simplicity and dark, earthy color of Bizen ware pieces make them ideal decorative adornments for any setting.
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Bizen ware also enhances the taste of food, beer and sake, and gives flowers extended life. This was proved by experiments carried out by the Okayama University of Science and the Okayama Ceramics Center, which revealed that Bizen ware cuts out 90% of far infrared rays, thereby keeping nearby natural materials fresh, and preserving and improving the taste of food and drink.
By public transportation
From JR Okayama Station, take the JR Ako Line (which branches off from and later reconnects to the JR Sanyo Main Line) for 40 minutes to JR Inbe Station. The Bizen Ware Traditional Pottery Center is on the 3rd floor of the station building.