Discover the beauty of the Tamba kiln pottery: Getting to know it is like a journey through the history of Japanese ceramics.

In this article we talk about how they make the pieces, their history and you will see amazing works that are made just as they were hundreds of years ago.

The Tamba kiln, also known as Tamba-yaki kiln, is one of the six ancient kilns in Japan. The other five are: Shigaraki, Bizen, Echizen, Seto and Tokoname. These six kilns are considered the most significant and important in Japan and have been producing ceramics for centuries.

It is located in the western part of the country, specifically in Hyogo Prefecture.

Tamba’s kiln and workshop are closely related to the Rokkoyo region, as much of its ceramic production is made with clay from there.

It is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Japanese ceramics, as it offers an insight into the history and culture of this beautiful, ancient and cherished art form.

But when and how was this famous pottery center born?



Its origin dates back to the 12th century, during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). The Tamba region has been known for its high quality ceramics for centuries, and this kiln has been a benchmark of Japanese ceramics since its inception.

Much of its tradition and techniques are attributed to a potter named Tanaka Chōjirō (長次郎), who moved to this locality and laid the foundations of its pottery. He is credited with introducing new methods and styles to the area, which helped establish it as a center of pottery production.

This area, known for its abundant reserves of high quality clay, proved to be the perfect place for pottery production. Tamba kilns were fueled by wood, which helped create a unique ash glaze on the pieces. This glaze, known as “Tamba-yaki”, became a characteristic feature of their pottery and is still used today.

In the Edo period (1603-1868), Tamba ware gained popularity among Japan’s rich and powerful, and many lords and “daimios” purchased large numbers of works for their personal enjoyment. The pottery was also highly sought after by merchants and traders, who exported it to other parts of Japan and even abroad.

During the Meiji period (1868-1912), pottery production in the area lost popularity due to the influx of Western products and styles. However, the Tamba kiln managed to adapt and continue to produce high quality pottery while incorporating new techniques and designs.

In the Taisho (1912-1926) and Showa (1926-1989) periods, Tamba began to gain popularity again coinciding with a revitalization of its industry. The Japanese government recognized Tamba ware as a “National Treasure,” which is the highest honor for traditional craftsmen.

Today, some of Japan’s most beautiful and unique ceramics are still produced there, using traditional techniques handed down for centuries. Its pieces are highly sought after by collectors from around the world, and its pottery workshop is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Japanese ceramics and its past.

Traditionally made Tamba tea cup (Yunomi)

Traditionally made Tamba tea cup (Yunomi)

© Nippon2You



It begins with the selection of the highest quality clay, which is given the desired shape. The pottery is then fired in this traditional kiln, which is always fed with natural materials such as wood and charcoal.

The firing process is crucial to the final quality of the pottery, as it gives it its characteristic colors and textures. Their potters are highly skilled in the art of firing, and carefully control the kiln at all times to ensure that the pottery is fired to perfection.

Once the firing is finished, the pieces are removed from the kiln and are ready to be glazed. The glazing process is another crucial step, as it gives them their characteristic brilliance and beautiful colors. Tamba’s artists are highly skilled in the art of glazing, and carefully apply centuries-old techniques to their works to create the desired beautiful effects.

Tamba yaki guinomi

Tamba yaki piece by Stoneware Treasury



The Tamba Kiln is open to visitors and offers a unique opportunity to see the process of creating pottery first hand. You can watch the potters at work and learn about their traditional techniques.

In the studio there is also an exhibition where you can buy the pieces made there, which are absolutely beautiful and unique. You can also attend classes to learn how they create this famous pottery, and even make your own piece to take home as a souvenir.

This famous kiln is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Japanese ceramics and pottery in general. The workshop offers an insight into the rich history of this famous kiln and its art form. The process of creating pottery is fascinating, and the potters are truly skilled. So, if you ever get the chance to go to Japan, the Tamba kiln is a must-see destination if you love ceramics.

Japanese ceramic kiln-Tamba-yaki

Tamba Traditional Handicraft Center

cc by 663highland

Here are some frequently asked questions as a summary.

What is the Tamba kiln?

The Tamba kiln is a type of traditional Japanese ceramic kiln located in the western part of Japan, in Hyogo. It is considered one of the six ancient Rokkoyo kilns.

How old is it?

The Tamba kiln has been in operation for more than 800 years, from the Kamakura period in the 12th century to the present day.

¿Qué tiene de especial su cerámica?

It is known for its unique style and techniques, which include the use of locally sourced clay and natural ash glazes. The Tamba kiln is also known for its “yo-hen” firing process, which creates unique surfaces and textures. In addition, it is a hard and durable ceramic for everyday use.

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