Tobe ware is hand painted with indigo color on white ceramic. It has a feminine softness. Tobe ware is not produced on a large scale, but it is often seen used to serve Sanuki udon.
The mountains near Tobe in Ehime prefecture are blessed with good quality pottery clay and abundant pine trees that are ideal for firing kilns. The craft was thus developed early on, under the guidance and support of Ozu Domain, a samurai lord in the province. Today, more than two hundred years later, the philosophy and practice of hand painting is very much alive. And four types of Tobe ware were officially recognized as Traditional Crafts of Japan in 1976. They are white ware, painted pieces, blue ware, and black glaze ware. All of these are made exclusively with local materials. Since the designs are practical and modern, Tobe ware has a great number of fans all over Japan. In recent years, local young artists have introduced materials imported from other regions and started to created new variations of the Tobe style rather than stay with tradition. As a result, Tobe ware has evolved into one of the Japanese crafts with the most variety in these modern times.
Tobe also hosts the Tobe Ware Festival twice a year, in the spring and fall. During this time, the streets around the Chamber of Commerce are used exclusively for pedestrians. People can walk around freely and admire wares at the more than 60 pottery stalls that set up in the neighborhood. This is a very popular event for bargain hunters. The festival also offers an auction which has great popularity among tourists.
The subtle design of Tobe ware goes well with almost anything so it can be used as western tableware. Tube’s gentle, relatively light colors also make for good children’s tableware. Some pottery factories even offer plant tours where visitors can hand paint Tobe ware themselves and take it home!
Tobe-yaki tourism center En'nosato
359 Senzoku Tobecho Iyo-gun Ehime-ken
Ehime Tourism Bussankan
Okazaki Sangyo bldg 1F 3-6-1 Ogaido Matsuyama-shi Ehime-ken