Premium chefs of Kumamoto


Japanese Restaurant Benkei and Sushi Restaurant Tachibana,
Mikio Nakajima and Norio Ono Select Hagimigama

Stunning Japanese cuisine. Selecting tableware for each course is an important task for an artisan.

Hagimigama kiln in Uki City is a favorite kiln for both Chef Nakajima and Chef Ono, and its tableware is also featured at Hotel Nikko Kumamoto’s French restaurant, Les Célébrités. For the current Premium Menu, they have placed an order for five special plates.

When the completed objects were delivered, both chefs and their staff were impressed, not only by the size and design but also by how the finished products had taken the servers into consideration.

Custom-made tableware for serving sushi and assorted appetizers

Shinpei Ido of Hagimigama kiln remarks, “Since I had a clear idea of what was being served, I was glad to have the freedom to design the rest on my own.”

After his university graduation, Mr. Ido studied under Taki Nakazato of the Ryutagama kiln in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture. When he returned to Kumamoto, he established a kiln in 2010 in his beloved Uki, which has good clay and has been a pottery center historically.

“I want to make tableware that evokes the essence of the cuisine, making me envision what I will arrange on the plate.” He has an unwavering passion for creating tableware. Utilizing local clay as the foundation and drawing on the knowledge gained from training in Saga, he produces tableware with diverse expressions, encompassing white slipware, Mishima ware, and stoneware.

The bronze color on this plate was created by using the same glaze but altering the firing method. “I eventually chose this firing method for the glaze, but before making the decision, I sensed that the possibilities were expanding without a clear choice. Thanks to that, it took 10 years.”

While he is recognized for his dedication to pottery, he acknowledges that realizing the importance of adaptability was an accomplishment. Mr. Ido, known for his expressive tableware, exemplifies the necessity of being adaptable.

He possesses a warm personality and gentle expression. However, his expression is solemn as he silently works the clay, and he hesitates to speak. This nature reflects in the tableware he crafts, making it easy to use and fitting comfortably in one’s hands.

For instance, when you place rice in one of his bowls and hold it with one hand, you’ll find that it neither feels too light nor too heavy—it’s just right.

When people buy his tableware, he advises them, “Soak it in water for a half-day before using it. The microwave is OK, and you can put it in the dishwasher, but don’t use the drying cycle as this will dry it out too much. The tableware will last longer that way.” Mr. Ido’s tableware has an affinity for the dining table, and one may notice that the flavors change as one approaches home.

When selecting a plate, consider the type of food you want to place on it. Choose a plate that you find appealing, as it can enhance the enjoyment of the meal.

Store information

Hagimigama Kiln

Address: 146-3, Hagio, Matsubasemachi, Uki City, Kumamoto Prefecture

Tel.: 0964-53-9354 *Call ahead of time so that we will be here

Business hours: 10:00–17:00

Closed on an irregular basis


Instagram: @hagimigama

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