Meet a Traditional Japanese Pottery Craftsman

Baking his crafts only once a year

By Yoshi Hirasawa    - 2 min read

Deep in the mountains of Matsuda (Ashigarakami District, Kanagawa Prefecture), Yasuro Yamamoto is still refining his art. At 20, he began his pottery journey in Kyoto by studying beside his master. A few years later, Yasuro Yamamoto decided to settle in the area of Matsuda, where he rented land to start from scratch and built his atelier and primitive kiln.

About his crafts

Various methods exist within the Japanese pottery, but Yamamoto-san fell in love with “Nanban-yaki”, a technique using Lake Biwa’s soil baked in a primitive kiln. Due to the exigent conditions required to use the kiln, in which more than 5 tonnes of logs is necessary, crafts are only baked once a year. This event is particularly important for the craftsman, as his entire annual production—about a tonne and 300 kg of art—depends on the process. Baking takes approximately 10 days, during which Yamamoto-san needs to pay very close attention to the stability of the kiln’s temperature, maintaining it around 1080 degrees celsius.

Yasuro Yamamoto’s crafts are exposed in Setoyashiki, a traditional Japanese abode with its Japanese garden and its mill. In this famous tourist spot of Kaisei town, you can enjoy the fresh air while experiencing the traditional culture.

Unfortunately, the kiln is not open to sightseeing but you can admire Yasuro Yamamoto’s crafts at Setoyashiki.

Open every day from 10am–5pm (Closed Mondays)

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Yoshi Hirasawa

Yoshi Hirasawa @yoshi.hirasawa9848

Videographer based in Tokyo. Creating documentaries to showcase Japanese Craftmanship, available on Youtube. 

Join the discussion

MARC Pascal 2 months ago
1080°C ?!? I dont think so...😉
Elena Lisina 6 months ago
Wonderful video and master's works! Arigatou gozaimashita!
Elizabeth S 6 months ago
His work is gorgeous. What a lovely peek into his craftsmanship.
Alena Eckelmann 6 months ago
I love Japanese pottery and really enjoyed watching this video!
Kim 6 months ago
Beautifully captured, and educational, too! :)