Are you an artsy type and epicurean, do you like sake and hands-on activities? This sake tasting experience is made for you. Explore Hirashimizu, once a pottery village at the edge of Yamagata City, now studded with diverse artisanal shops.
Hit one of the only two remaining artisan kilns in the village, the 150-year-old family-run Shichiemongama pottery workshop, for a pottery class. Beginners are welcome and your guide will carefully show you the molding method unique to Hirashimizu. Because of the special characteristics of the raw material collected from nearby Mt. Chitoseyama, the pottery techniques used are particular to the area.
Challenge yourself to create your own hand-made tableware. This is the ideal spot to learn how to craft a lovely souvenir dish, bowl, or sake cup! The pottery experience follows a guided tour of the facility and an explanation of the journey of each piece, from clay to completion. Skillful craftsmen will dry, glaze, bake your piece of art and send it to your home, wherever it is in the world.
You’ll move to the Shichemongama showroom and feast your eyes on their stunning production, including some rare antiquities from the early age of the kiln. Take also a look at the old wood-fired kiln, used only once or twice a year, as nowadays kilns are gas-fired.
Just a few minutes from the pottery studio is a sake specialty shop. Head there and take a sip of three varieties of local and rare nihonshu (rice wine), carefully selected by the owner and sake brewer. This tasting experience offers a total of four pours served in white or auburn cups from Schichiemongama kiln and backed up by locally-produced drinking snacks. Those who don’t drink alcohol can enjoy 100% locally produced juices instead of sake.
At the end of the experience, take a quick peek at Heisenji Temple around the corner. This humble and peaceful establishment is overlooked by a famously gorgeous cherry tree with weeping branches and a cascade of petals during spring.
Pottery making class
Sake tasting including three varieties of sake and four pours in total
Any additional food and beverages
Meeting Point and Meeting Time
Shichiemongama pottery workshop
Non-alcoholic options are available for the tasting portion of the tour