Okinawa’s largest pottery fair held this weekend in Yomitan
Yomitan Pottery Market was organized for the first time in 1993 in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Yomitan Kyodo Hanbai Center, a joint market for Yomitan pottery makers. Over the next 20 years the event grew in popularity to the extent that local residents started complaining about traffic jams in the area, and as a result, the pottery fair was moved to Zanpa Ikoi-no-Hiroba in 2013.
The event has become the largest pottery fair on Okinawa with about 20,000 people coming to the event forcing organizers to move again. The new home for the fair is the Yomitan farmers’ market known as JA Farmers Yunta Ichiba at Kina, Yomitan Village.
The new location is close to Highway 58, is easy to reach and has plenty of free parking.
The Fair takes place this weekend on Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 to 19:00 on both days. Admission to the fair is free.
The fair features Yomitan’s famed ‘Yachimun’ handmade pottery. Pottery making on Okinawa started around 1682, when King Sho-tei of the Ryukyu Kingdom brought kilns from various parts of the kingdom initiating the development of the china business. In addition to the technology, which has existed until now, promotion of pottery was aimed at absorbing the technology from Japan and various parts of China.
After the original site in Naha was completely destroyed I the war, many pottery makers rebuilt their kilns in Yomitan area. Although many pottery stores stand side by side in Naha and are called Yachimun even now, Yomitan artisans and potters insist that the real Yachimun pottery is made only in Yomitan. Many kilns continue to operate near the remains of Zakimi Castle in Yomitan village. Yomitan, they say, is the place to fire pottery.