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A town sustained by pottery, Shigaraki is one of the “six old kilns” of Japan.
The fist stop on our trip to Koka was Shigaraki Tougei Mura(Shigaraki Pottery Village). Shigaraki Village is known for being one of the "six old kilns" in Japan. Here you can see our hosts, the Shigaraki Tanuki (Raccoon Dogs).
Right away, we got the chance to paint a tanuki to call our own.
Ghost Tanuki! A creepy mid-painting shot.
I had no idea how to paint, but it wasn't hard and I felt like I was 8 years old again.
Adding details was fun, because each stroke brought out more textures in the pottery, like the tanuki's beard and belly fur. (The fuzzy eyebrows were a personal touch)
I didn't really think when choosing the color but they actually mean something. I think yellow was money and blue work / study, though, so I probably chose right.
My very own tanuki, complete with a lazy eye and single stroke of orange face paint. Apparently the green symbolizes health.
I'm proud of my scared yellow tanuki. Now he has a new home in my apartment, near my books.
Mad scientist examining his creation.
Proudly showing our works of art.
Here you can see a Noborigama (climbing kiln), the kind used to make Shigaraki pottery hundreds of years ago. You can also see a tanuki. (I'm pretty sure he was following us around)
Here, we had the chance to learn more about Shigaraki. It seems that the village has more tanuki than people! Sadly, they can't live by just selling statues, so the city artists also produce a variety of goods, such as tiles and tableware.
Here are some pieces waiting to be fired. Nowadays they mostly use gas kilns, which are more efficient, but don't produce the special glaze effects of the traditional ovens.
Have you ever been photobombed by a tanuki?
This is a water filter made of Shigaraki pottery. The water tasted good.
This cute kappa guy was hanging out with the tanuki...
And since Koka is all about ninjas, we also met some ninja tanuki.
Our buddy is back again! Now he's photo-bombing his brothers.
You can also see how the noborigama looks on the inside. Since no one uses it anymore they turned it into a cool little room where you can take a break.
This time we photobombed the tanuki! I couldn't resist the urge to hug one.