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Ceramic Travel Guide - Tokyo Part I

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We just added a new Tokyo guide, with even more tips and tricks to the wonderful city. Read it here!

Welcome to the first of the Yonobi ceramic travel guides, and this one is going to be about Tokyo, Japan. But if you're not traveling but just want some ceramics made in Japan - go here to see our selection. 

Tokyo, besides being the most exciting and wonderful city in the world, Tokyo is a gem in regards to ceramic hunting. But before I start this guide - let me come with a 'little' warning: A ceramic shopping trip in Japan will destroy any money saving attempts. Warning done - let's begin! 

HOW TO GET THERE?

It's easy to travel to Tokyo, there are two airports, Narita and Haneda, and many flights. If you plan your trip well you can even get some very well-priced tickets, so you can save your money for all the ceramics you will be bringing home. I always find my tickets via Momondo, it's easy and they always show me the best available prices. 

Both airports are world class. They offer great services and some of the best on-time performances of any airport in the world. Narita International Airport is located further from central Tokyo than Haneda International Airport. Almost all international flights land at this airport. There are plenty of public transportation options to reach central Tokyo from the airport including the JR Narita Express, the Keisei Skyliner, buses, taxis, and even helicopters ;) We took the bus and even though it was a bit of a long drive (approx. 1,5 hour drive), it's a nice way to arrive in the city and you get to relax a bit on the way and prepare yourself for you Tokyo adventure.

Haneda International Airport is located closer to central Tokyo than Narita International Airport. Almost all domestic flights land at this airport. There are fewer transportation options from the airport to central Tokyo, some of which require transfers, but the journey is much quicker and cheaper.

Getting around Tokyo is super easy! They have an effective subway and metro system, that is easy to figure out and everything is of course on schedule all the time. Some metro lines can be quite crowded in rush hour. And also you get to experience the Japanese power-nap culture first hand ;) The easiest way to use the metro-system is to get a PASMO card, then you can top-up along your trip and you don't have to think about tickets etc. The card also works for busses - and even for the shops and vending machines located in station areas. 

 

 

WHERE TO STAY?

Tokyo has so many areas, that it can't be hard to figure out where you want to stay. Some of my favorite areas are Daikanyama, Ebisu, and Naka-Meguro. On this trip, we stayed at an Airbnb apartment in Daikanyama and we ended our trip with some few nights at the very cool Claska Hotel in Meguro. The hotel is a very hip and nice designer hotel, where the 20 rooms are categorized into four different design themes. I this way you can choose the perfect room, which best fits your purpose, preference, and style. We stayed in one of the 'Contemporary' rooms and it was absolutely beautiful.  


CERAMIC - HUNTING
Tokyo is filled with small shops selling all kind of ceramics, a lot you find in the stores are mass produced though, and therefore missing a little of the charm and texture ceramics otherwise have. One store I do feel have a good selection is the design store and cafe  Tenoha Daikanyamatheir selection of ceramics and other goods is super nice - and store holds a lot of Japanese brands and artists. Defiantly worth a visit. 
But, the best way to find the most unique and one of kind ceramics and crafts in Tokyo is defiantly by visiting all the local flea and antique markets. 
I visit two antique markets when I was in Tokyo. One of them was Ôedo Antique Market is held twice monthly - the 1st. and 3rd. Sunday of each month. Lots of stands with antique and vintage ceramics - in all price ranges. Definitely worth a visit. 
If you're shopping for Japanese pottery, ceramics, knives or any type of kitchenware while in Tokyo the place to go is the famous Kappabashi Street also known as Kitchen Town in Taito district. The place seems like a never-ending strip of kitchenware shops - here you can find everything from pots and pans to plastic food and tableware. The ceramics you will find here is mostly mass-production, but they are still beautiful and with a little searching at the different shops you can find some gems. But if you only have to visit one shop, then make your way to 'SOI'. SOI has a beautiful mix of antique furniture, decor and of course beautiful and delicate ceramics. You also find a beautiful café on the location.
Another tip is Tsukiji market. Besides visiting the market for the fishing market and some really fresh and delicious sushi - which I also highly recommend, the outer market is worth visiting for its ceramic shops. You will find a lot of ceramics that are very similar to the ones on Kappabashi Street, but between the masses, there are some really lovely shops with a beautiful selection of ceramics and kitchen goods. 
The last tip for Tokyo is the large shopping centers. Don't be fooled - the shopping centers are a great place for finding ceramics. The variety in artists both international and Japanese is wide and the prices are fair. 

Let the ceramic hunting begin.

Good luck!

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  • Visiting Japan in April. Am a studio potter with a wood kiln.
    So v interested in visiting some pottery areas like mashiko and shigaraki. Can’t do them all on one trip

    Anjali Aney on

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