It's been more than 10 years since I last visited the Onta pottery village in Oita prefecture. I was super excited to see it again, didn't mind driving 7-8 hours round trip in a day!


I remember my first visit to the Onta pottery village like it was yesterday. The smell of clay, wood burning in the air, and the sound of the river nearby. It was like traveling back in time.


It  has been said the Onta Kilns had started more than 300 years ago. The tradition of Onta wares has been handed down through generations. Each potter receives training from their own father (or sometime in-laws), as they believe in keeping this art within the village and family. It used to be more, but now 9 family-owned kilns work together to preserve the traditions of Onta wares. Natural ingredients such as straw, ash, wood, and feldspar are used to create the various types of glazes that will beautifully coat the clay.

They have continued to use traditional methods by extracting clay from the local surroundings and manually pounding it with a wooden hammer for a period of 20 to 30 days until it turns into powder. They use a hydraulic wooden hammer, powered by a water wheel from the river running through the village called "Karausu."

I loved listening to the calming sounds of the river flowing, along with the occasional rhythmic thuds from the water wheel "Karausu" (the wooden hammer).

I saw some villagers working on their pottery in front of their houses.

Lunch time! Having some delicious soba noodles with burdock root tempura - and of course, they serve the noodles in beautiful onta pottery. It's the go-to (and only) spot in this village, so if you ever get a chance to visit Onta village, you can't skip it. Plus, it tastes amazing!


It was a tough choice. Each family brings its own unique touch.


 It's always a joy to see the "Noborigama"! A kiln built on a slope. It's something you don't see every day, so it was quite an experience to witness the firing process.



From collecting the clay from nearby mountains to using ash glazes made from local plants, Onta pottery stays true to its roots by staying connected to nature. This connection can be seen in the earthy tones and natural textures of the finished products.


I really enjoyed the finish that Mr. Kobukuro created. Thank you so much for showing me the workspace!


On the way back to my hometown in kumamoto prefecture, passing through Aso mountain. Next time I hope I will have enough time to enjoy the hot springs in the mountain...


I just had a quick break at Nabegataki Falls in the Aso mountain. Long day driving, but enjoyed every moment! Will definitely be back!

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