Sawa Hozan’s pottery studio is located in Shigaraki-cho, Koka city. The city is located in the southeastern part of Shiga prefecture, famous for Japan’s largest lake Biwako.
Master potter Sawa Houzan’s father Gisaburo was a turner in a Kyoto pottery studio. In 1950, he split off from the studio and opened his own kiln under the name of Sawa Houzan, later moving the pottery studio to his hometown in Shigaraki-cho, Koka city of Shiga Prefecture.
Sawa Harumi, the son of Gizaburo, inherited the kiln along with the name, continuing his father's tradition of creating art under the name Sawa Houzan. The 2nd Sawa Houzan also has a son and successor, Masayoshi, and together they produce the beautiful Shigaraki-yaki teaware and tableware acknowledged and loved by many in Japan and around the world.
The Town of Shigaraki
Although Shigaraki is famous as a potter’s town, it is also known as tea growing region (Oumi-cha and Asamiya-cha). Asamiya-cha has a long history of 1200 years and its origin dating back to 805 AD. Many tea fields are still seen today. Having a long history as a tea production region, it was natural that a practical but beautiful pottery tradition was born.
In addition to the Shigaraki-yaki ceramics tradition, Koka is also known for being home of the Koka ninjas. Several ninja residences still stand today and are open to public. The exterior looks identical to a typical Japanese-style farmhouses built at that time, but once inside, it is constructed with special and secret features such as hidden passages and trap doors built to protect the ninjas from outside enemies.