Naruto City is located on the northeastern tip of Tokushima Prefecture and on the west side of the Naruto Strait.
From majestic mountains to hypnotic turquoise waters, the city of Naruto is home to a number of natural scenic spots.
Observation decks in the city such as 千畳敷展望台 (Senjojiki Observation Deck) and お茶園展望台 (Ochaen Observation Deck), offer outstanding displays of the picturesque Onaruto Bridge and Naruto Whirlpool views.
One can also walk the glass-floored walkway of 大鳴門遊歩道 渦の道 (Onaruto Bridge Promenade Uzu no Michi) to view the breathtaking force of the Naruto Whirlpool, one of the largest whirlpools in the world, or ride the うずしお汽船 (Uzushio Kisen), a high-speed whirlpool sightseeing boat, for a more adventurous experience.
The city is also known as the place where Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was performed for the first time in Asia. In addition to this cultural pride, there are also famous tourist spots such as the Otsuka Museum of Art and the Naruto German House.
Otani ware, a traditional craft from Naruto City that represents Tokushima, has a history of over two centuries. It is specified as a traditional handicraft of Japan and certified as a traditional specialty product of Tokushima Prefecture.
Otani ware contains a lot of iron with a rough earthy texture and a faint metallic luster, giving off a hushed glow albeit its simple design.
Several potteries abound in the area such as the Umezatogama (pottery) where one can take pottery lessons and experience the fun of creating ceramic bowls and teapots.
Nearly a Century of Specializing in Otani Ware
Ever since its foundation in 1928 by Mr. Sanjiro Harumoto, Umezatogama has been specializing in Otani ware for nearly a century and still continues to produce beautiful and practical tableware to this day.
Various types of kilns such as wood-fired kilns, charcoal kilns, gas kilns, and electric kilns are used for different purposes. Umezatogama, the only pottery that utilizes 窖窯 (anagama), a kiln that uses firewood, is one of the six Otani ware kilns remaining in the country.
Otani ware originated in the 18th century when a potter visited Otanimura (now Naruto City) and started producing pottery with red clay. An indigo merchant also arrived, and indigo dyeing became actively carried out with large jars of Otani ware being an indispensable tool for this work.
Making use of the raw materials procured from the local area, large pottery such as aigame were produced along with miscellaneous items for daily use such as sake bottles. The talented craftsmen of this pottery continue to make 100% naturally baked golden ware and ash-covered works using cedar, a traditional raw material of Otani ware.
Over the course of 15 years, the highly-skilled craftsmen of Umezatogama have created the ultimate coffee cup which is surprisingly light and easy to hold and has a smooth mouthfeel. Because of its ease of use, there is no turning back once you use it.
In September 2003, Otani ware was designated as a traditional craft by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. From then on, a wide variety of works have been made ranging from daily necessities to special occasions ー works that are not bound by the image of Otani ware.
Currently, the number of Otani ware kilns has decreased to a few, but Umezatogama continues to make practical, functional, and beautiful products that are easy to use in daily life.
Beautiful, Convenient, Safe, and Functional
Inheriting the tradition of Otani ware that began in the late Edo period, the skillful craftsmen produce bowls, coffee cups, and ornaments using ceramic techniques such as plate making and rokuro (potter's wheel).
With years of extensive research and by studying other types of tableware, the highly-skilled craftsmen of Umezatogama have paid great attention to details including the position and thickness of handles and other parts, the feel of the mouth, and even the size of the height of the base.
One of the characteristics of the ceramics made at Umezatogama is that many of them are carefully created with clever techniques that cannot be seen from the outside, such as teapots and soy sauce dispensers that do not spill even when tilted.
By extracting minerals and mixing with the glaze, the finished product makes food more secure. Minerals have the function of controlling the growth and metabolism of the body, maintaining the balance of cells, and thereby, are important and indispensable for maintaining good health.
Umezatogama products can be used in microwave ovens and dishwashers (the temperature of the hot water during washing is set to 70-80 ° C or less). Nowadays, powerful drugs such as lead and cadmium are sometimes used in industrial products, but no such harmful ingredients are used in Umezatogama’s products.
The Ultimate Series coffee cups have been thoughtfully designed for convenience and functionality with attention to six points: lightness, ease of holding, vessel capacity, heat retention, mouth feel, and storage, resulting in the ultimate cup that, once used, is impossible to part with.
The Jidai Chawan Series is produced with various people's dietary needs in mind, so that you can choose the size and depth of the bowls that are easy to use.
Umezatogama craftsmen strive to create beautiful, safe, and functional products.
Inspiring Users and Their Loved Ones
p>Beauty lies within the uniqueness of every product created as even with the same glaze, a variety of color gradation can be enjoyed.
Seeking to inspire both users and their loved ones, the industrious craftsmen of Umezatogama are constantly researching ways to create products that comfortably accompany the lifestyles of all generations and bring smiles to customers' faces.
We recommend these products as gifts to celebrate a marriage, a new job, a long life, or as a token of gratitude. Umezatogama craftsmen will continue to make products that fit into people's lives and touch their hearts.
2008 TV Champion 2 Pottery King Championship Champion