Traditional Culture of Japan - Portal site of traditional crafts and culture

The Bizen Ware Festival


Inbe, a town located in Bizen City, Okayama, is known for Bizen ware, and the Bizen Ware Festival is held there every year on the third Sunday of October and the preceding Saturday.


Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to this large-scale festival. For two days, the area around Japan Railway's (JR) Inbe Station becomes a pedestrian paradise with works on display by a variety of artisans and potters.


Roughly 400,000 pieces of Bizen ware are sold throughout the festival grounds. Visitors can get their initiation into the production of Bizen ware from artists through hands-on clay kneading activities and more.



Enjoying the Bizen Ware Festival
On the festival days, the town of Inbe is so alive with people it is hard to imagine for a place that is otherwise tranquil year-round. Streets lined with Bizen ware shops become havens for pedestrians, and there are many booths lining the streets.


Another entertaining point of the festival is that visitors can enter locations that are usually off-limits, such as the houses of Living National Treasures being opened to the public.


Every shop runs big discounts on festival days. Although Bizen ware is expensive, visitors can get their hands on some for relatively reasonable prices.


There are also many events held only on these days. For example, an art museum in Inbe holds an exhibition to go along with each of its themes in preparation for the day of the festival.






Furthermore, there are seats set aside for tea at places like Amatsu Shrine, which is decorated with loads of Bizen ware. Sipping on some tea in the midst of this unique scenery surrounded by Bizen ware is a delight that you just can't indulge in every day.


There is also a shuttle bus that goes to the Shizutani School, which is known as the oldest school in Japan open to commoners. All of the Shizutani School's buildings have high historic value, having been designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Assets. The roofs of the school buildings are made of Bizen ware, with a new kiln being made solely for the purpose of firing the roof tiles.


In this manner, visitors can get familiar with the townscape and history passed down from long ago at the Bizen Ware Festival in a single day. Visitors can learn in depth about Bizen ware from the atmosphere of the festival itself.

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