Last Updated: Nov 4, 2023

Aichi’s Town of Tokoname

One of Japan’s Top Kilns

Donny Kimball
9 min readNov 4, 2023

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The famous chimneys of many of Tokoname’s kilns poke up over the townscape, thereby giving it the image that it might have had during the Edo period or early Meiji period. Tokoname City is well known for its production of Tokoname teapots called kyusu in Japanese as well as other ceramic pottery.

In today’s article, I am going to take you to the artisanal town of Tokoname. Located on the western side of Aichi Prefecture’s Chita Peninsula, Tokoname has long been famous as one of Japan’s six ancient kilns. From as long back as the Heian period (794–1185), Tokoname has been churning out amazingly high quality ceramics thanks to its rich and earthy red clay. Today, the town is nothing short of a celebration of all things related to craftsmen. If you’re a big fan of wares like Japanese teapots and other such china, you need to add Tokoname to your list.

While the primary points of appeal in Tokoname are certainly related to its famous pottery, there is a lot more to this ceramic wonderland than just what its kilns make. For example, the village is something of an anime pilgrimage for fans of the 2020 animated film A Whisker Away which was set in Tokoname. As you’ll see if you ever visit there yourself, many of the locations in the movie have real world counterparts that make for some truly great photo opportunities.

All things considered, generations of potters hailing from these ancient kiln sites in Tokoname have been producing amazing wares for over a millennium. If you want to experience this history for yourself, take this article as a sign to add this part of Japan to your itinerary for your next trip. Tokoname is quite easy to get to and is situated on Japan’s so-called “Golden Route’’ that connects Tokyo and Kyoto. Thus, even for first-time visitors, this section of central Japan is easily accessed.

How to Get There

The easiest way to get to the kiln collection in Tokoname is to take one of the limited express trains that depart regularly from Nagoya for Chubu International Airport. This is also an easy way to put a lid on the problem of how to bring back any teapot or ceramic purchases you may buy.

Let’s take a quick break to iron out the key logistics of getting to Tokoname. As alluded to, you’ll find this ancient collection of kilns in Aichi Prefecture. Situated directly to the south of Nagoya, Tokoname is actually located extremely close to the artificial island upon which Chubu International Airport was constructed. Thus, the easiest way to make the trek down from Tokyo is to simply take a flight to Tokoname. Since it’s so close, you can get to purchasing some…

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Donny Kimball

I'm a travel writer and freelance digital marketer who blogs about the sides of Japan that you can't find in the mainstream media. https://donnykimball.com/