As one of the six historic pottery cities of Japan, Tokoname can only be described as ceramic heaven. Ceramics have been the heart and soul of Tokoname for a thousand years, and are still a main...
Sake buffs should make certain not to leave Tokoname without visiting Morita Aji no Yakata, an Edo-period brewery still in operation today. Not to be mistaken as a beer brewery, Morita Aji no Yakata brews only sake, miso and soy sauce. Visitors have the opportunity to taste all three products, learn all about the brewing process and purchase products if they wish. Once the tasting and buying is ticked off, enjoy a meal at the brewery’s in-house restaurant.
Aichi prefecture, in which Tokoname is situated, boasts several signature dishes all visitors should try before leaving the region. Miso nikomi udon is a type of udon noodle dish stewed in a miso broth and topped with cabbage, onions, carrot and more. For something a little meatier, try Tebasaki Karaage (deep fried chicken wings). Hitsumabushi and Miso Katsu are also worth looking out for.
Those lucky enough to be entering or departing Tokoname via the Chubu Centrair airport are in for quite the culinary surprise. Amazingly, the airport is home to around 50 food and drink outlets, ranging from sushi restaurants and full buffets to dessert bars and even a delicatessen. You could be forgiven for arriving at the airport an hour early just to sample some of the tasty treats on offer.
While in Tokoname it would almost be rude not to pick up a piece of Tokoname ware to take home. The quintessential Tokoname ware item is the redware teapot, characterised by its reddish, earthy colour which originally resulted from the high density of iron in the clay extracted from Tokoname’s rice fields. Still today, the bulk of Tokoname’s ceramic products exhibit this deep red tinge.
One of the best places to find a great piece of Tokoname ware is Ceramic Hall - the starting point of Pottery Path. There is pottery on display here from several different pottery studios, though expect to pay slightly more than you would at one of the studios themselves. Even if buying an item is not of interest, the hall is great for simply browsing the city’s creations and learning about the industry.
Cheaper prices can be found at Ceramall, a large ceramic wholesale centre about 10 minutes out of the city centre. It houses around 20 wholesalers of Tokoname ware and is one of the best sources of good quality Japanese ceramics in the country. When a break from pottery is required, there are a few small cafes and a great little kid’s park on offer within the complex.