In the middle of August one street of Kyoto – Gojo, becomes particularly lively, as it hosts the annual pottery festival.
Gojo has always been known as a pottery area in Kyoto. The famous Kyoto pottery styles– Kyo-yaki and Kyomizu-yaki have been produced in this area and sold in numerous pottery shops on Gojo street. While in 1980 the change of environment laws required to move all wood-burning kilns out of Kyoto city, Gojo continued to thrive as the pottery street.
The first pottery festival here was held nearly 100 years ago in 1920 and continues to be an annual event. The festival is held during the Obon season in the middle of August. It is said to have started in connection to the Rokudo Chinnou temple visits for paying respects to the diseased spirits. The temple attracted lots of visitors and gave a great chance for the pottery makers and sellers to offer unsold items.
Today it is one of the biggest pottery festivals in Japan that hosts around 400 vendors from all around country. Of course, a lot of them are from Kyoto, but many travel from as far as Aichi, Yamaguchi or Nagasaki. You can find some items in the traditional Japanese pottery styles as well as some items in newer, more modern styles. While the festival is not focused on teaware specifically, a lot of items are for making and enjoying tea: tea cups, teapots, Matcha bowls, etc.
It is said that over the 4 days the festival attracts about 400,000 visitors. Not discouraged by the strong summer heats local pottery lovers and travelers from further away flock to Gojo to enjoy generous pottery bargains and find some unique items.