Monday morning started off with an attempt to visit the Noritake Garden, one of Japan’s best-know porcelain makers. There was once a time when I had planned to purchase Noritake tableware for myself, and I thought it worth a visit. I was planning to go through the Gallary and see what the gift shop had on sale, but upon arrival I realized my mistake – it was Monday. While most sights are open on the weekends, galleries, museums, and many sights close Monday as their weekly holiday and I forgot to consider that on my way out the door.
So, instead of visiting the gallery and garden of Noritake, or hang around Nagoya looking for open sights, I figured I’d head to Seto instead. They couldn’t close the entire city, could they? Back at the main train station I got directions and headed out. It’d involve a change of trains at Sakae St., but otherwise would get me there in under an hour.
Seto is one of the 6 oldest Japanese kilns, producing mainly white-based china which is used widely as tableware. The vast majority of what you get in Seto is the typical tableware, mass produced, identical items, and painted. Not really what I was looking for, but the history of the city made up for it, certainly.
While it was Monday, not all of the shops were open when I arrived and started my journey through the town. There were paths through the town of the local sites, kilns, and stores, with the walkway in some places decorated with pottery in a similar manner to Tokoname. There was even a neko museum on the upper floor of a shop, and a number of shrines and museums dedicated to the local trade. When I visited the museum, I almost felt like I was their only visitor yet that day – they set me up in an open room to watch a (japanese) video of the history of the town and ceramics, and served me tea.
These signs appear long the road, on fences and houses all over and show a unique way of encouraging citizens to ‘do the right’ thing in as cute a way as possible. They seem to work better than our signs do, if that’s worth anything.
I managed to find some rather unique porcelain at one of the famous kilns, and spent a good hour sipping tea, eating sugar candies, and talking with the potterer. Another gentleman was there as well being entertained, although I’m pretty sure they knew each other as he didn’t seem to be shopping, but fortunately he spoke reasonably good english, as he had actually lived and worked in Toronto at one point in his life for a year or two.
AsI made my way out of town, it was nice to see that bikes still out numbered cars even in the small cities.
Back in Nagoya it would be my last evening out, and rather than head back to the hotel directly I decided to head to the local Mandarake instead. I’ve been crossing them off my list as I traverse Japan, and only have a couple left at this point. It happens to lie in Ōsu District, and while searching for it I found a temple that fronted onto a covered shopping street. It was raining that evening, so I tried to stick to the covered streets – finding a temple in one of them was odd, particularly with the obvious and rather tacky sales out front.
After doing a bit of shopping in Mandarake I grabbed some local food in the covered shopping street, including some karage from the popular Lee’s Taiwan Kitchen, and then headed back to the hotel to pack.