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Tile architecture from Japan

When we think of Japanese architecture, we imagine something simple and sophisticated, such as wooden structures or, in recent years, exposed concrete. On the other hand, I don't think that buildings using tiles like those used in Europe and the United States are often seen. With the historical technology of Japanese ceramics, it would be possible to make extremely beautiful tiles, and during the Meiji and Taisho periods, a tile manufacturer called ``Hatasama Tile'' created excellent architectural decorations. Hadayama tile architecture remains, mainly in Kyoto, and its appearance still attracts those who see it. Today I would like to introduce you to such "Hatasan Tile".

Source: Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten reading material

Handicraft tiles born in Kyoto

Taizan Ceramics, founded by Taizan Ikeda in 1917, has played an important role in modern Japanese architectural decoration. Its unique product, Taizan Tile, is carefully crafted one by one as a handicraft, and its individual expression and beauty have established its status as a work of art. Let's explore its charm and history and focus on the existence of Taizan tiles that can be seen in modern Kyoto.

Source: Hatayama Tile HP, Kyoto cafe exterior wall

The beginning of Taizan Pottery and Taizan Ikeda's dream-

The beauty of the kiln left to nature-

Taizan Ikeda, a native of Tokoname City, Aichi Prefecture, studied at the Kyoto Ceramics Research Institute in his youth, then returned to his hometown and learned terracotta techniques. His dream was to create tiles not just as building materials, but as works of art. To realize that dream, Ikeda established Taizan Pottery in Kyoto. His goal was to create tiles as handicrafts with a ``natural kiln-like beauty,'' and this philosophy became the basis for Taizan Tile's widespread recognition.

Taizan tiles and their influence

The influence of Taizan tiles is widespread, and their presence can be seen in many of Japan's most representative modern buildings. These include the Imperial Household Agency's prestigious buildings such as the Chichibu Palace and the Nasu Imperial Villa, the Tokyo National Museum, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum (formerly the Asaka Palace). In particular, in Kyoto City, where there was a pottery factory, Taizan tiles are used in the Kyoto National Museum as well as in places used by citizens on a daily basis, such as coffee shops and public baths. This shows that the influence of Taishan tiles has spread not only to architecture but also to daily life.

The existence of Taizan tiles seen in Tokyo

An example of Taizan tile architecture that can be seen in Tokyo is the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. Tiles of various sizes are used on the floor and walls, including rare veined tiles and tiles with rich textures. The kiln change (the condition of the glaze changes during firing), which is often seen in ceramics, gives the tiles a natural impression, creating a space with a texture that cannot be achieved with tasteful industrial products.


Although we live in an age where we can enjoy things and things anywhere, we believe that there are hints to enriching our lives by learning about Japan's ancient aesthetic sensibilities and ways of living. In addition to disseminating information about towns, architecture, crafts, and food that are connected to Japan's ancient aesthetic sensibilities, we also operate a select shop that focuses on handicrafts. If you are interested, please check the select shops as well.

OBORO Select Shop Link

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