Pottery Workshops and Galleries in Kumamoto

ByJustin Hanus
Sep 28, 2023

Pottery Workshops and Galleries in Kumamoto

The island of Kyushu is known worldwide for its ceramics. Kumamoto prefecture is the birthplace of the Shodai and Koda styles, and the city of Amakusa produces high-quality ceramics from porcelain called Amakusa pottery stone. You can see, purchase, and even make pottery yourself at several galleries and workshops around the prefecture.

Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Crafts Center

Near Kumamoto Castle, you’ll find the Kumamoto Prefectural Traditional Crafts Center. Along with other crafts, the museum and shop have a large selection of pottery, ranging from traditional ceramics to modern styles in bold colors and with fun motifs. In addition to purchasing pottery as souvenirs and checking out the temporary exhibitions, you may be able to join a craft workshop.

Where: 3-35 Chibajomachi, Chuo Ward, Kumamoto City (map)
Website: kumamoto-kougeikan.jp
Open Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday

Ichiyama Kujiraya

Potter Fumiko Ichiyama has established a pottery gallery called Ichiyama Kujiraya, which is a combination of her name and the word in Japanese for whale (kujira). Located in a converted 50-year-old house in Amakusa, the gallery displays various dishes decorated in simple yet effective designs and painted in pastel colors. Since this is a private gallery, the open hours can change. Check the website or call beforehand to confirm it will be open.

Where: 1-2909 Itsuwamachi Teno, Amakusa
Website: kujira2010.exblog.jp
Open Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day


The studio at Hanabusagama in Kumamoto City belongs to ceramic artist Hideo Maeda. He combines traditional Japanese designs with innovative ideas to produce pottery in vibrant colors featuring intricate patterns. Some of his works have appeared in the prestigious Japan Traditional Kogein Exhibition and at art museums in the U.S. and France.

Several pottery experiences are available at Hanabusagama, all of which are available to people of all ages and last between one to three hours. You can make an object like a cup, dish, teapot, or bowl using clay taken from Mount Aso (some of the experiences give you the chance to use an electric rokuro or pottery wheel), or you can paint a ready-made object. The item will be fired with glaze and shipped to you around one month later.

Where: 5-9-23 Tsuboi, Chuo Ward, Kumamoto City (map)
Website: www.hanabusagama.jp
Open Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day


Located in the north of Kumamoto City, Gengama is a collaboration between several local artists. Most of the pottery in the gallery on the second floor is made by Hiroyuki Saito. In contrast, his wife Hitomi makes ceramic jewelry, and some of the other artists create noh masks and accessories. The first floor is dedicated to pottery production, including workshops for the public in using a pottery wheel and making plates.

Where: 985 Uekimachiuchi, Kita Ward, Kumamoto City (map)

Website: genngama.com
Open Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday to Wednesday

Kumamoto has a centuries-long history of pottery production. Visiting a gallery, purchasing a souvenir, or even making something yourself is a great way to appreciate this important part of the culture.

Lodz Design, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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