The streets of Tokoname

I love Japanese manhole covers. They are the perfect example of the Japanese ability to introduce beauty to the most mundane of things. Today I present to you the manhole cover of Tokoname. Located in Aichi prefecture, Tokoname is a small city famous for its ceramics industry. Tokoname has been associated with ceramics production since at least the Heian period and it is one of the ‘Six Old Kilns’ of Japan.

tokoname manhole cover

Tokoname manhole cover with the city’s seal in the middle, surrounded by flowers.

tokoname manhole cover

Tokoname manhole cover, embedded in Tokoname ware tiles

Tokoname is full of interesting textures. Streets and walls are lined with pottery, which gives Tokoname a very original and picturesque look. It is perfect for a day-trip from Toyota City and a great place for a relaxing afternoon stroll.

tokoname pottery streets

One of the most famous streets in Tokoname, beautifully decorated with pottery

tokoname streets lined with pottery

Another Tokoname street lined with pottery

tokoname streets lined with pottery

Decorated wall in Tokoname

a shop in tokoname with pottery embedded in the floor

A shop entrance in Tokoname with pottery embedded in the floor

Tokoname pottery shop

A close-up of the floor of the shop

a beautifully decorated wall in tokoname

A beautifully decorated wall in Tokoname

a close-up of one of the pottery walls in tokoname

A close-up of the wall

Can’t wait to visit Tokoname yourself? Tokoname is located at 30 min. from Nagoya, right next to Chubu Centrair International Airport. The Tokoname City website provides directions to Tokoname and information on sightseeing in Tokoname.

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Blue and white Japan

When Western people think about Japanese aesthetics, they will often think either about elaborate and colourful designs like kimono fabrics, or they will think of the rustic and minimalist aesthetics of tatami mats and shōji doors. I was therefore very surprised to discover the Japanese love for blue and white fabrics and pottery. The designs often include simple geometric forms.

I love how the blue and white designs are simple yet elegant. This subtle sense of beauty, and the fact that it is present in so many aspects of daily life in Japan, is one of the things that I love so much about this country.

blue and white japanese fabrics

Blue and white Japanese fabrics. The indigo colour of these fabrics, which is sometimes referred to as ‘Japanese blue’, is called ‘ai’ in Japanese. It is produced from the plant ‘dyer’s knotweed’ and the dye has a distinctive sulfur like odor.

blue and white japanese rice bowls

Gorgeous blue and white Japanese rice bowls