One of the first things you see on the walk along the pottery path are yaki-neko’s, or rather, ceramic cats. I decided to catalog them all, as I made my way up the hill along the wall they were attached too. This post is a gallery of them; for anyone who likes cats, a visit to Tokoname is recommended.
Today I managed an earlier start, and actually had time to grab some breakfast at the hotel – a rarity for me. With two full days left based in Nagoya, I wanted to make sure I got to Tokoname, a popular spot for yakimono, so I set out mid morning with the hope of getting there around noon. As luck would turn out, finding a bank machine that worked on a Sunday proved somewhat tricky – even the trusty JP machines which I believe are affiliated with Japan Post didn’t seem to like my card. I ended up having to hike it to the main post office and was fortunate that the card worked there – in a JP machine no less, making me wonder why it hadn’t worked at the one in the station! A frustrating way to start the day, as with all the extra running around I ended up not arriving in Tokoname until almost 1pm.
It was well worth it though. A visit to Tokoname involves a walk through the historic pottery center along 1.8km of paved pathway and stairs. A detailed map of the area, with all the highlights marked was available in the train station and I spent the next four hours traversing the path, which included a few shopping stops. A side trip across one of main roads took me into an older section of town which appeared to miss the tourist traffic – little was open and what there was didn’t interest the casual tourist.
I wandered for a while and then headed back to the main path, and ultimately the gift shop at the start/end of the route where I had previously noted some attractive pottery being showcased by the potterer himself. It was in the back of the main shop, and only hosted his wares, allowing for a more personal exploration and explanation as to what had gone into the making of the items and how they’d been decorated. As I had already picked up a couple of pieces, I limited myself to a couple of items and ended up being the last customer for the day.
Nagoya was to be the last of two major stops before heading back home, and while not on my original itinerary I figured it worth a stop – mainly to visit the nearby pottery towns. The winding down from two busy days in Takayama conspired to cause me to sleep in without any firm plans for Saturday yet made.
Leaving around lunch time I debated whether to head to one of the pottery towns nearby or wait until the next day. It was already nearing lunch time, and rather than try and rush an afternoon elsewhere, I figured I’d relax and take in a baseball game instead. That meant grabbing a quick lunch of Ramen and heading to the ball park to try and get some tickets. The game wasn’t until 6pm, but everything I had read seemed to indicate that it’d be hard to find tickets and being a Saturday I was inclined to agree. Nagoya Dome is about a half an hour train ride (four stops) from Nagoya Station, followed by a 15 minute walk from Ozone station – getting there early afternoon was my objective.
I arrived around 2:30pm, hoping to be able to buy a ticket and then wander around for a bit. The ticket counters weren’t open until 3:30pm, so I ended up waiting in line – the wrong line, as it turned out. I saw the sign, saw the people, and figured I was ok – but the lineup was to pick up tickets, rather than to purchase. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long before finding this out, and the ticket booths to purchase didn’t have anyone waiting. I had no trouble finding a good seat on the home teams side.
After purchasing the ticket, I wandered through a couple of stores looking for some souvenirs, but didn’t find anything appropriate – that would have to wait until I got inside. A lineup had formed at the gate, which appeared to be opening after 4pm. Once inside, I did the tour and picked up some baseball cards and snacks.
Warmup started around 5pm, with the game at 6pm. The Nagoya Chunichi Dragons versus Osaka Hanshin Tigers was the title card for the evening.
While the game was entertaining, particularly due to the energy created by the fans, it went ‘full-time’ so to speak. After 11 innings, it ended in a 1-1 draw, something you’d never see in North America. But 10pm seemed to be the cut-off time, whether it had always been that way or whether it was a way of saving power I’m not sure. But there you had it.
Back to the hotel, and good night.