Mashiko is located in the southeastern part of Tochigi, and it falls in the Prefectural Nature Park which spreads across the northern reaches of the Kanto Plain. The town is known throughout Japan and the world as a production centre of pottery.
The origin of Mashiko ceramics can be traced to the middle of the 19th century when Keizaburo Otsuka found potter’s clay at Otsusawa and built a kiln to fire it. At the beginning of the 20th century, ceramist Shoji Hamada also built a kiln in Mashiko. The number of potters in Mashiko has been increasing ever since, and now amounts to 380. Ceramics fairs are held every spring and autumn, attracting visitors numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
At Ceramic Art Messe Masihko, a pottery theme park, you can enjoy exhibitions of works by Shoji Hamada as well as those of modern ceramists. There is a pottery studio on-site where you can try your hand at sculpting and painting pottery yourself. In Mashiko Sanko-kan, a museum celebrating the life and work of Hamada, you can see items ranging from his ceramic works, the kiln he used, the house he lived in, as well as works created by him and his associates.