Experience making your own pottery and tasting the best local sake in Yamagata.
Hirashizmizu is an ancient pottery village at the edge of Yamagata City, surrounded by nature, and today, home to a variety of artisanal shops and traditional craftsmen. This experience is a great introduction to the village, all the while getting to make your own pottery and enjoy a special sake tasting profiling the best local brews.
Experience Hirashimizu Sake and Ceramics
Regular and Long Courses include:
A hands-on ceramic experience at the historic Shichiemongama workshop.
We can ship your handmade dish to you anywhere in the world (postage fees funded by you)
Tour of Shichiemongama factory and ceramics showroom.
Guided sake tasting at La Jomon boutique.
Long Course exclusively includes:
A deeper lecture and sake tasting session by Taro Kumagai
A tour of Kameya silk crafts shop and storehouse
Walk through Heisenji Temple.
Regular course: 10,000 yen per person
Long course: 20,000 yen per person
Regular course: 4 hours
Long course: 6 hours
Shichiemongama store, Hirashimizu
Minimum amount of participants
Please notify us at least 3 days before if you must cancel or modify your reservation.
10,000 yen per person. Duration ~4 hours.
We’ll start the tour at the famous Shichiemongama pottery workshop, one of the only two remaining artisan kilns in the village. Shichiemongama is a very special store, having been in the same family for over 150 years and seven generations. While the style of pottery created here has changed over time, the methods are materials are still quite traditional. You’ll get to see some beautiful examples of the kinds of ceramicware produced today, and then get a chance to try your hand at the craft.
The on-site ceramics experience is great fun for all ages, and no prior pottery-making experience is necessary. Because the raw materials (taken from the nearby mountain, Chitoseyama) have certain unique characteristics, the molding method is also somewhat different from conventional pottery. But your guide will show you everything you need to know to make a beautiful souvenir, be it a dish, bowl, or your own personal sake cup! After the class, we’ll take a quick tour of the facility, and you’ll see how your work of art will be finished up. (The pottery does take additional time to dry, glaze, and bake, but Shichiemongama can ship your handmade dish straight to your home, anywhere in the world. Please bring cash to fund the postage fees home if you desire this.)
Next, we’ll pop into the Shichemongama showroom, displaying a variety of items and styles, as well as some rare antiquities from the early age of ceramics production at the kiln. Today Shichiemongama’s kilns are gas-fired, but one ancient wood-fired kiln remains on the site, however is only used once or twice a year. In the showroom, you can also see (and buy) examples of the pottery from this kiln, whose color and texture come completely from a natural ashing process inside the kiln.
While a pottery cottage industry once flourished here, now several different trades and artisan shops call Hirashimizu home. Just a block up the street, we’ll head to one such shop, La Jomon, an intimate sake boutique specializing in rare, local pure rice wine sakes (and all-locally produced drinking snacks.) But the best way to learn about Japanese sake is to taste it yourself.
20,000 yen per person. Durations ~6 hours.
While still maintaining the standard Hirashimizu course to keep this experience accessible to everyone, we have also created a longer course option to give visitors a deeper experience into this village.
This course includes what the regular course offers, with additional experiences.
This includes a deeper lecture by Taro Kumagai in a private room behind the workshop which will explore the flavors and unique attributes of Yamagata’s finest sake accompanied of course by tasting throughout the lesson.
After the sake course, we will visit Kameya, an acclaimed silk crafts shop that produces high-end silk products using silk and dyes produced entirely in Yamagata Prefecture. Here you will meet the family that has run this shop for generations including a visit to their storehouse to see and learn about some of their prized family heirlooms demonstrating the finest of Yamagata’s master craftsmanship.
Lastly, finish your tour with a peaceful walk of Heisenji temple.
Inquire about your Hirashimizu sake and ceramic experience today!
Please note this form does not confirm the availability of an experience or reserves an experience straightaway.
Our general cancelation policy for our experiences is below. Cancelation fees may vary according to exceptional circumstances.
3 business days before date of experience
2 business days before date of experience
30% of total price
1 business day before date of experience
50% of total price
100% of total price