1. Try out an Aizu Hongo pottery workshop!
After all, Aizu Misato Town is best known for its pottery culture!
I’ve never used a pottery wheel in my life, but the kind staff at Irori Pottery house was so helpful. The way to use the wheel was not only thoroughly explained to me, but he also gave me a full demonstration!
It was so much fun making a cup on the pottery wheel! The staff made it look so easy, however it was much harder than it looks!
The shop is filled with beautiful pieces.
2. Investigate the local pottery culture
Be sure to stop by the visitors’ center to learn more about the town and admire a variety of pottery that is on display in the museum area.
The town has a rich history in pottery that dates back to
the Warring States Period (1467 – 1615)!
Aizu Hongo pottery is a local treasure and although it may not be a house hold name, pieces of Aizu Hongo pottery (known in Japanese as 'hongo-yaki') can be found in museums around the world! Some pieces are more affordable and available for sale while some pieces are priceless, however, all are beautiful.
During the warring states period, the leader of the Aizu Clan, Ujisato Gamo, ordered renovations be made to the nearby Tsurugajo Castle. The need to quickly produce a large number of ceramic tiles for the castle roof led to a surge in pottery production in the area with more than 100 kilns and craftspeople producing the tiles. Along with tiles, potters also crafted a wide variety of products and wares, honing their skills after years of training.
Today there are only 13 kilns left in the area, and they are still producing ceramics and porcelain products today to preserve the oldest tradition of pottery in the Tohoku region.
3. Explore the area on a free rental bike!
There are actually rental bikes here that you can use for up to 4 hours, for FREE! One of the bikes is an electrical assist bike, so if you are super interested in biking but your travel buddy is less so, then you can put them on the electrical assist bike and go exploring together!
The bikes can be rented at the visitors’ center.
4. Check out the the Isasumi Shrine.
The history of this shrine is thought to be connected to a 2000 year old legend, detailed on the Isasumi Shrine page.
The grounds of the shrine are shaded with large trees and quiet mossy paths. When I visited, the classic wooden structure was so beautiful against the summer greenery. There is a large Koi pond nearby that is also very relaxing to visit. I had a nice time feeding the koi fish.
5. Enjoy local cuisine
The area is particularly famous for having delicious soba noodles and sauce Katsudon dishes! I ordered the sauce Katsudon at a local diner and it was absolutely delicious.