南山大学

 

International student's Japan experience report Tour of Seto city

"Kamagaki-no-Komichi"

The "Kamagaki-no-Komichi" is a pathway of about 400 meters in length, in Hora-cho, which once prospered as one of the main ceramic production centers. "Kamagaki" is a general term for a wall or fence built out of "kiln tools" used in the firing of pots. The length of the wall is decorated with embedded small dishes and bowls featuring geometric designs and floral patterns and kiln tools, making a very eye-catching sight for passersby.

Video Clip outining the tour’s coures

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The four follow the pathway as it undulates up and down with the curves of the hillside. The width of the pathway is one "ken" (approximately 1.8 meters) and this became the standard length of a tatami mat. In olden days, this unit of measurement was used when building houses and towns.

The wall containing kiln tools. The four students totally relax as they soak up the warm atmosphere of the somehow nostalgic pathway.

"This is so cute!" says Miyako, taking photos as she discovers the various patterns made by the dishes and sake cups embedded in the wall. The other three also busy themselves taking photos in various spots.

Midway along the pathway they find an old house converted into a gallery. In the garden is a large ceramic pot, with a display of water plants.

Inside the gallery, a tatami room has displays of works by a variety of artists. The four are impressed, "Japanese ceramics always conjured up images of very muted colors, but now there are also very colorful works too."

The areas around the pathway are full of typical Japanese scenery, such as bamboo groves (far left photo) and hedges of sazanka camellias (first photo on right), providing yet another highlight of the Kamagaki-no-komichi pathway.

They arrive at the Kamagaki-no-Komichi museum, a potter’s house built 120 years ago, which has been restored. The house was divided into the main wing where the family lived and a separate area for guests, and gives an insight into the way people lived in those times.

In the main wing of the house is a display of the ceramics made in Hora-cho during the late stages of the Edo period and the early stages of the Showa period. The four students are captivated by the delicate designs and patterns of the works. A tour of the rear of the house reveals such things as a kitchen from the era, as well as a bathroom made with beautiful ceramic tiles.

They have almost reached the end of the approximately 400 meter long pathway. Amongst the path’s nostalgia, a sense of the modern and the artistic can also be felt.

A town event was being held on this day, and the group was treated to some "Zenzai" or sweetened cooked Azuki beans. "Zenzai" is traditionally a treat enjoyed at New Year or other celebrations and invokes warm memories of winter. All four of them ate it all up – "Delicious."

Lunch is enjoyed at a local soba noodle restaurant. Luis ordered a tempura and udon noodle set, Miyako and Antonella had the Nagoya specialty "miso nikomi udon" (udon noodles stewed in a miso broth), and Christine ordered "oyako-don" (chicken pieces cooked in egg and served on a bed of rice).