Noritake Garden ノリタケの森
Noritake Garden close to JR Nagoya Station in Nagoya is one of Nagoya's major attractions and is the site of the original red-brick buildings and kilns of the first Noritake ceramics factory. The park-like grounds are home to the Noritake Museum, the Noritake Craft Center, a Noritake shop, a restaurant and a cafe.
Morimura brothers began their business exporting Japanese antiques overseas with Toyo based in the company's store in New York. Ceramics from Seto in Aichi Prefecture known as "fancy ware" proved to be particularly popular in the USA, so the company switched to making European-style tableware in the early 20th century and thus in 1904, Noritake Co. Limited began.
Noritake began to specialize in hand-painted, Western-style porcelain, much of it in the art nouveau style, as well as pure white tableware and from 1914 the first dinner sets were produced. Dinnerware was to become the signature product of Noritake and the onset of mail order in the USA helped to make the company a global brand.
In the 1920's British designer Cyril W. Leigh was hired and began to develop an Art Deco style for the company with pieces produced in vivid colors with a luster incorporating paints containing precious metals. Noritake also became known for its fine bone china producing firstly vases and ornaments and later tea sets and tableware.
With over 100 years of history, Noritake is now known for its fine luxury, western-style tableware both overseas and in Japan.
Noritake Craft Center
The Noritake Craft Center is a four story building containing both the Craft Center on the first two floors and the Noritake Museum on the top two floors.
The Noritake Craft Center explains the production process of producing the companies products and has demonstrations of the various stages by crafts people. Visitors can even try their hands at painting on to the ceramics.
Floors three and four are the Noritake Museum with exhibits of beautiful "Old Noritake" pieces, dinnerware arranged on tables and design drawings from the Meiji and Taisho periods. Clear explanations in both Japanese and English accompany the exhibits.
Also on display is the tableware for the former Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (the lobby of which is preserved in Meiji Mura in nearby Inuyama) which was designed by the architect of the iconic hotel, Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Welcome Center opposite the Craft Center has videos introducing the history of the company along with wall panels and exhibits presenting the range of ceramic products now produced by Noritake. These now include dental implants, electronic devices, vehicle parts, bearings, precision grinders and durable adhesive tapes.
Noritake Square & Kiln Restaurant
Noritake Square, adjacent to the original red brick factory buildings of the company and the lawns of the Fountain Plaza, sells Noritake's famed tableware. On the second floor is Cafe Diamond Days where diners can enjoy lunch and dessert served on casual Noritake tableware.
In a separate building, Kiln Restaurant offers French cuisine served on classic Noritake dinnerware with a gallery on the second floor with temporary exhibitions by local artists.
The Noritake Garden
The garden area of the site contains six chimneys of old kilns built in the 1930's, the Kiln Wall made of old brick foundations and decorated with plates inscribed with the name of donators to the garden, a biotope of trees, plants and water and the "Detached Kiln" nestling within this natural space.
Noritake Garden is a short 15-minute walk from Nagoya Station or the second stop on the Me~guru Nagoya Sightseeing Route Bus from Nagoya Station Bus Terminal after the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Alternatively Noritake Garden is also a short 5-minute walk from Kamejima Station on the Higashiyama Line of the Nagoya subway.
1-36, Noritake-Shinmachi 3-chome
Tel: 052 561 7290
Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday or the next day if Monday is a holiday.
Welcome Center, Craft Center, Noritake Museum 10am-5pm; shop and cafe 10am-6pm; restaurant 11.30am-4pm
Admission: entry is free to the grounds with an entrance fee charged only for the Craft Center & Noritake Museum (500 yen for adults, 300 yen for high school students). A combined ticket with the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology costs 800 yen.
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