Experience, Lifestyle,

Winter time is hot pot time! So why not try making your own Japanese pottery?

Pottery class

In every country, there is pottery that match the culture and the local cuisine. Japan is no exception, with different kinds of unique tableware. So when in Japan, why don’t you try making your own Japanese pot at a local pottery school?

Shirokane Ceramic Art School

To get to the pottery school, enter the small street on the right of this fancy cafe and then turn left immediately

At the “Shirokane Ceramic Art School” in the Shirokane area in Tokyo, you can choose from various “experience courses” including some plans where you use a pottery wheel (read the article). They have English speaking staff too, which makes it very easy for foreigners to participate in the classes. This time, my two friends and I tried to make a “hot pot” (o-nabe) cooking pot ourselves.

Pottery class

Choosing the size of the pot.

Because the pot used for hot pot dishes is bigger than the usual dish or mug you’d make in a pottery class, we didn’t use the pottery wheel. Instead, we used our hands and a rolling pin to flatten the clay, like pizza dough.

Pottery class

This step feels more like a cooking class!

Once the clay is thin enough, you put it over a hot pot shaped bowl and gently form it into the right shape. Next, you have to make a lid. The lid is one of the most important pieces for a hot pot. As you might know, there are various shapes of hot pot lids. There is the “tajine hot pot” lid, a dome-shaped lid, a flat lid…the shape of the lid will change how the steam builds up in the hot. So actually, the shape of the lid is quite important. But anyway, since it is YOUR hot pot you are making, you should go with the shape you like, rather than worrying too much about the practicability.

Pottery class

Forming the shape of the hot pot using a hot pot form. The clay will shrink a little so it’ll actually become the size of the form.

Customize your creation!

Once you finished forming the shape of the lid, it’s time to customize it! Since it is your very own self-made pot, it is fun to create a design that you cannot buy at a store. So even if the result isn’t “perfect”, it is still your very own creation and you’ll love it even more. Also, self-made tableware is a great gift for a loved one!

Pottery class

Deciding the shape of the top handle.

We customized our lids and the handles of the pot. Then, with some help of our teacher, we attached it to the pot. Finally, you may choose the color you want it to be. For the one-day experience course, you can choose from matte off-white or charcoal black. In the case of a “2-day class”, you can paint the pot yourself, allowing you to choose from many more colors. You can even go beyond the single-color and paint a picture etc.

Pottery class

Connecting the handle to the lid.

It takes a month to fire pottery, but if you are in a hurry, you can shorten the firing process up to only 3 days (※ an additional fee required). You may pick up the finished work directly at the school or let them ship it to you. Overseas shipping is also possible.

Pottery class

From time to time the teacher steps in to explain what to do next.

Pottery class

Connecting the handles to the sides of the pot.

The staff of the small, calm Shirokane Ceramic Art School is very kind and will teach you everything patiently.  Therefore, even if you’re a beginner, you don’t need to worry about participating in the class. Also, since there are many 1-day experience courses, unlike other pottery schools, there is no need to become a member. It is a perfect classroom for tourists and short-term visitors. So by all means, try making your own good memories of Japan while you’re here!

Pottery class

Tadaaa! These are our creations before firing. They turned out great!


Shirokane Ceramic Art School

5-13-4 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo

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I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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