Welcome to Mashiko Town
Mashiko is in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture, 2 hours by car from Tokyo and 1 hour 45 minutes from Narita Airport. It is about an hour and a half from Nikko, with its various UNESCO World Heritage sites. Mashiko is famous as a “pottery town”, visited by people from all over Japan and around the world, seeking out its ceramic ware. There are a great number of potters in the town, working in around 250 workshops and 50 pottery stores. In the workshops are a number of apprentices learning the craft of pottery, as well as foreigners taking part in live-in programs. Mashiko is also famous for accepting artists into the town. The townspeople welcome them as friends, and both sides enjoy their lives together.
Mashiko also has over 20 cafes – an unusual amount for a small town. Many artists spend time lost in thought in local cafes, perhaps coming up with new ideas. As well as this, the area is Japan’s number one strawberry-producing region, and many people come for strawberry picking. Mashiko even has a sake brewery ranking number four in the world, so there is no shortage of places to see in the town. It is also a great place to try out some creative activities while staying for a few days.
Among the varieties of pottery found in Japan, Mashiko ware is one of the most popular. It is used in various cuisines and loved by chefs, and is also sold in stations in places such as Karuizawa and Yokokawa.
The Kasama area in Ibaraki Prefecture, 25 km to the southeast (about 30 minutes by car), is famous throughout Japan as a hub for ceramics. Mashiko and Kasama are two of the rarities in Japan, being two neighboring ceramics towns. This has caused the creation of many galleries and potters in this area. This area is now called Kasamashiko.
Sake is produced in this brewery, using the delicious clear water that runs down from the mountains of Nikko. You can watch the sake being made in the Tonoike Brewery, the town’s only brewery, where a variety of world-famous sakes are produced.
Tochigi Prefecture, where Mashiko is situated, is Japan’s leading area of strawberry production. There are a number of strawberry farms where you can pick the fruit, and lots of foreign visitors come to the town to do just that. The season runs from December to May each year.
The small Mooka line runs through the town. The trains only have one carriage, but the quintessentially Japanese scenes of rice fields that the train passes through make the train very popular with photographers. There is only one train per hour, so please make sure you don’t miss your chance to take some great shots.
There are three mountains in the Mashiko area within a 1,000 meters area. This hiking course is a great way to feel the nature of Japan. Come and experience the refreshing nature of Japan.
Restaurants and cafes
Mashiko area is home to many restaurants. It is particularly famous for its unique cafes. Forget time as you enjoy a meal or tea time at a forest cafe, and enjoy a moment of healing.