kutani on the map

"Kutani-yaki is pottery with overglaze painting, made in the southern cities such as Kanazawa, Komatsu, Kaga, and Nomi in Ishikawa Prefecture. With its vivid colors, it has attracted many people overseas, and many modern Kutani-yaki are exported, so some of you might be already familiar with it. The history of Kutani-yaki dates back to around 17th century. The first lord of Daishoji Domain, Maeda Toshiharu, told his retainer Goto Saijiro to go learn about pottery in Hizen-arita after discovery of magnetite in Kaneyama, Kutani, which is now Sannaka cho, Kutani in Ishikawa Prefecture. He adopted its techniques and built a kiln in Kutani, which is said to be the beginning of Kutani-yaki. With exquisite use of many vivid colors such as blue, green and yellow as well as bold unconventional patterns, Kutani-yaki came in many forms. It was soon highly evaluated as the best porcelain with overglaze painting in Japan, earning praise for its uniqueness and beautiful shapes " 

- Japan National Tourism Organization



Long winters with deep snow in Kaga. In such a world of monochrome, people were looking forward to welcome colorful spring. Yellow and green reminiscent warm spring has drawn

brightly on a one of masterpiece of KUTANI as pictured above.

◆ the early Edo period  ◆


KO-KUTANI (=old Kutani), made in the early Edo period (1655-57). It is the origin of KUTANI. Its artistic style is reminiscent Van Gogh's oil painting.

The style with vivid yellow and green is called "AOTE (=blue hand)", it is a style which represents the KOKUTANI. However, about 50 years later (1710) KO-KUTANI was suddenly no longer produced...    

◆ the late Edo period ◆


About 100 years later, fortunately the production restarted by the Kaga Clan, who invited many craftsmen and designers from Kyoto and Edo (former Tokyo) and produced various styles of Kutani Porcelain.

◆ Meiji era from the late Edo period ◆


A fine design appeared. It is the "AKAE (=red painting)" painting in red on a white. Only the red points and lines creat a majestic landscape in perspective.

◆ the Meiji era ◆


Plenty of KUTANI porcelains have been exported to Europe in Meiji era.

It was called gorgeous "JAPAN KUTANI". Its oriental pattern with fine technique attracts people in Europe. JAPAN KUTANI was the most exported porcelain in Japan at that time.

KUTANI's porcelain painters were competing each other how they can draw finer lines and  points. Such competition leaded to the artisan skill today.



The secret of warm green and yellow color is thick glazing. Painting glaze on the sketch very thickly is a traditional method of KUTANI.


When porcelain is fired in a Kiln, glaze gets beautiful colors. The picture in three-dimentional look appears.