A visit to Soryu-gama pottery studio


Hello Reader,

If you plan to visit Kiyomizu-dera temple, one of Kyoto’s most famous attractions, don’t miss the occasion to explore a couple of numerous local pottery studios.

Today, we’re introducing you to Soryu-gama, a studio that combines the traditional techniques of Kyoto’s celadon-glazed ceramics and Koishiwara ware of Fukuoka prefecture.

This studio, a haven of creativity, encompasses every stage of ceramics making, from the initial moulding on the potter’s wheel to the meticulous glazing and firing processes.

At the heart of Soryu-gama’s legacy lies its unique celadon glaze. This legacy has been scrupulously passed down through generations of the Wakunami family, ensuring the preservation of its timeless craft.

Today, the reins of this rich heritage are held by the fourth generation Wakunami Soryu, a master ceramist whose journey took a surprising turn after he married Madoka Ota, a native of a historic pottery village of Koishiwara in Fukuoka prefecture. Madoka’s union with the Wakunami family signified more than just a marriage; it was a partnership that transcended traditions.

In fact, Koishiwara region nurtures its own distinctive pottery tradition. Koishiwara’s functional, everyday pottery is characterized by geometric designs achieved through various techniques. From the hakeme brushed slip design to the chattering effect of tobi-kanna and the uchi-kake splashed slip pattern, each method adds a touch of unique charm to these utilitarian pieces. Madoka Ota’s heritage traces back fourteen generations in the world of Koishiwara potters, infusing her craft with a rich legacy.

At Soryu-gama, the techniques of Kyo-yaki celadon ware and Koishiwara pottery intertwine harmoniously, providing a testament to the resilience of tradition and the audacity of creativity. Through Soryu and Madoka’s devotion, the heritage of Kyoto pottery is not only preserved but also invigorated, ready to captivate the hearts of generations to come.

Stay tuned to the upcoming posts where we’ll dive deeper into the fascinating world of Soryu-gama’s products and techniques.

If you plan to visit the studio, learn more about the its pottery techniques and experience them first-hand, book your experience here: Soryugama

Words & images by Anastasiya Bulkavets (