Seto City, located in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan, is surrounded by low hills of 100 to 300 meters in height and enjoys a mild climate. In addition to its favorable topography and climate, Seto City is rich in an abundance of excellent resources for pottery, such as kaolin clay and silica sand (glass material). Being endowed with raw materials for both earthenware and porcelain, Seto City has developed into a leading pottery production center in Japan, contributing to the progress of Japan's ceramics culture.
Ceramics produced in Seto City are known as Setomono (Seto ware), which has become a generic word for ceramics not only in Japan but also world-wide. Having a history of over 1,000 years and a matching tradition, Seto ware represents Japanese ceramic culture and traditions.
Seto ware originated during the Heian Period (8-12th century.). During the Kamakura (12-14th century) and Muromachi (14-16th century) periods, Seto was the only pottery center in Japan that produced glazed ceramics. Supported by its excellent locally-available resources and advanced technologies, Seto has constantly been leading other production centers throughout its long history. In particular, the development of Seto-sometsuke (blue-and-white) style porcelain was truly epoch-making: it even influenced the art nouveau movement in Europe from the end of the 19th to early 20th century.
At present, Seto produces various ceramic items, including novelties (ceramic dolls and figurines) and fine ceramics, as well as tableware.
Potters in Seto City continue producing artistic and attractive ceramic works, inheriting time-honored technologies from their predecessors.