Situated on a highland area 300 meters above sea level, Shigaraki is a ceramic town of Koga City in the southern part of Shiga Prefecture, and known as one of the traditional centers of Japanese pottery, the home of Shigaraki ware. It has one of the six oldest kilns in Japan and is renowned historically for its good clay.
Shigaraki pottery has thrived for twelve hundred years in association with
the life and industries of the Japanese. The origin of Shigaraki-yaki involved the production of roofing tiles, as ordered by the Emperor during the Nara period (715-806). During the Kamakura period (1185-1333), water jars and pots were produced. It was not until the 12th century, when Shigaraki items were recognized by the rising tea culture, that it became well known.
Shigaraki-yaki is recognized for both the quartz particles embedded in the local clay, and the random reddish pattern naturally produced by a combination of flames and ash coming into contact with the surface of the ware being produced. It is the result of a process that combines both natural and human elements. Today, flower vases and ornamental pieces are being produced in the region, taking advantage of the Shigaraki clay that is well suited for large pieces.