The pottery history of this city dates back to the 12th-century Heian period. While the potters have been experimenting with the clay since that time, they truly perfected this pottery style in the 19th century after the building of climbing kilns (Anagama).
Since 2007, the Japanese government officially recognized Tokoname ware as a local brand. The government even named some prominent potters of this style National Treasures, for example, Yamada Jozan III. Indeed, the unique skills of this city’s pottery artists are passed down through generations.
Nowadays, tourists flock to this city to see the multiple pottery museums and clay statues situated around it.
The clay walk in Tokoname.
The local clay is used for a variety of things, from teaware to tiles, wind chimes, bonsai pots, and even religious statues. Potters who make Buddhist and Shinto statues from this clay are revered throughout Japan. Furthermore, Maneki-neko, the waving lucky cat, also originates in Tokoname. There, potters make it from the local clay and ship it across the world to bring good fortune and prosperity to their owners.
Tokoname Clay For Japanese Tea
Tokoname kyusu are unglazed. Furthermore, the clay naturally has plenty of minerals that wonderfully interact with the tea. These minerals make the tea smooth, sweet, and rounded, which you can easily notice when drinking some of the sharper Japanese green teas. Not to mention, many Japanese tea enthusiasts note that the iron-rich clay intensifies the umami of green teas. Read more.
A teapot made from this clay naturally possesses heat reduction speed and low porosity. Unlike Yixing teaware, it seasons very slowly which means it's perfect for use with a variety of teas. Somewhat similar to Chaozhou ware. However, you will probably feel naturally inclined to mostly use a Tokoname teapot with Japanese teas, considering how well they pair.
This short and wide Tokoname Teapot is perfect for brewing Gyokuro.
How To Take Care Of A Tokoname Kyusu
When using your kyusu for the first time you simply have to rinse it a couple of times with boiling water. That’s it! Never use any detergents with these unglazed clay teapots. After use, simply rinse another time with some water. If there are any tea leaf particles left, you can wipe them off with a tea towel or with a set of tweezers. Finally, leave it to dry with the lid off. Read more.