Noritake Garden, a short walk from Nagoya Station, is an interesting open-air museum and a good place to meet Japanese friends for an al fresco meal or a drink.
The present-day Noritake ceramics company was founded by Ichizaemon Morimura in 1904. Morimura began his business exporting Japanese antiques overseas in the 1870s, but switched to making European-style tableware in the early 20th century.
The Noritake Gardens' site contains the original red-brick buildings and kilns of the first Noritake ceramics factory as well as the Noritake Craft Center, a Noritake shop, restaurants, gardens and a cafe.
The 4-storey Noritake Craft Center (open 10am-5pm; 500 yen) displays the different processes in ceramic production including pottery shaping, firing, glazing and china painting. You can also try your hand at making and painting your own ceramics. On the 3rd and 4th floors are the Noritake Museum with a collection of historic china including pieces in Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles.
The "Celabo" Noritake Showroom (open 10am-6pm; free) next door has more demonstrations of ceramic production plus modern applications of Noritake ceramic technology as used in electronics and industry and some exquisite tableware on display in its shop.
The original brick factory buildings in Noritake Garden were in use until 1975. One of them has been renamed "Canvas" and has a history of world ceramics displayed inside. The "Kiln" restaurant (Tel: 052 561 7304 ) nearby serves European cuisine, mainly French and Italian on Noritake's famed tableware.
If you are looking to buy Noritake ceramics, the site has 3 main outlets: "Stage" Noritake Prestigious Shop for high-end pieces, Noritake "Palette" offers a collection of other companies tableware and "Box" has more affordable Noritake items.
The grass lawn behind the brick buildings and the biotope garden are lovely places to stroll and look back at the skyscrapers rising above Nagoya Station from the old brick kilns.
1-36, Noritake-Shinmachi 3-chome
Tel: 052 561 7114
A 15-minute walk from Nagoya Station or 5 minutes from Kamejima Subway Station on the Higashiyama Line.
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Saturday, November 08, 2008