Mashiko Spring Pottery Fair 2022
The sleepy town of Mashiko located in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan once again has been brought to life! After 2 years of hiatus due to the coronavirus restrictions, the pottery fair was held once again in full swing. Held from April 29 to May 8, The Golden Week event was a blast and a relief to most artisans and entrepreneurs. It was a sign of economic recovery as people from other places flocked together and enjoy buying goods, not to mention, the restaurant businesses in the nearby areas benefited from this fair. And the event even came back with more variety in terms of merchandise.
WHAT I SAW DURING THE FAIR
In addition to ceramics and potteries, there were handmade goods, handicrafts, leather goods, fashion accessories, and even international food stalls like shawarma. It was indeed memorable and a must-visit destination for people interested in arts and travel. For those who missed the event, you can come back once more during autumn, around the first week of November.
Streets are filled with crowds but in an orderly manner. The only difference from pre-pandemic times was that visitors were wearing masks and still, you need to disinfect your hands when you enter a stall or shop.
TRAVEL TIPS TO ENJOY THIS FAIR
Expect larger crowds. Mashiko town is world-famous for its pottery and before the pandemic happened, a lot of foreign visitors were here. This year, Japan still decides to close its borders to foreign travelers so most of the tourists are locals or foreign residents. Although, the crowd is lesser compared before, expect larger crowds when Japan reopens.
Walk, walk, walk. Because it’s a tourist spot, it will be hard to find a parking area if you visit Mashiko by car. As much as possible, be here early and prepare to walk a long distance. Ladies, ditch your heels and wear your favorite sneakers!
Be earth-friendly. Always bring a sturdy eco bag with you wherever you shop. Be aware that Mashiko ceramics are heavier than the plain ones we use in our homes. Don’t forget a small water bottle to hydrate yourself. Although vending machines are always everywhere in Japan, bringing your own water is cheap and earth-friendly.
Bring a spring coat or jacket. Climate change is real so we don’t really know if it’s cold or warm during the first week of May.
JONAIZAKA STREET IN MASHIKO
The main street called Jonaizaka is the heart of the pottery fair. It is lined with ceramic galleries and trendy cafes. You can find Mashiko Pottery Cooperative Selling Center with the giant tanuki (raccoon). It is somewhat a landmark in Mashiko. The business establishment is home to many shops selling a variety of potteries, handicrafts, and food. There is ample parking space and pottery classes on weekends. You can enjoy and explore further along this famous street on foot!
For those interested in history, don’t forget to visit the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Arts. Located on top of a hill, the vast property includes a pottery studio, climbing and wood kiln, Shoji Hamada’s house, exhibition center, and Iseki-Hiroba castle ruins area. Completing these various facilities are the spacious lawn and some hydrangea shrubs that bloom in summer. This is totally a must-visit place when you’re in Mashiko and it is free!
The pottery fair in Mashiko is held twice a year during spring (Golden Week period) and in autumn (first week of November). Schedules might change so be sure to check Mashiko Tourism’s website for further information. For all of you art enthusiasts and travelers, don’t miss this wonderful event!