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Japanese pottery displayed on a self

Ceramics and Satoyama in Japan

Course dates

June 3 to June 24, 2019

Application deadline EXTENDED TO

May 1, 2019​

Immerse yourself in the ancient art of Japanese ceramics alongside master ceramicists in rural Japan. We will explore the sustainable practices of “satoyama,” where village and mountain meet. Experience intersections of art and ecology as we create contemporary ceramic wares.

  • Live in one of the “six old kiln villages” of Japan. Echizen is a ceramic tourist destination and home to dozens of ceramic artists.
  • Participate in a 3-day firing of an anagama wood kiln, and visit archaeological kiln sites near Echizen.
  • Learn the ancient coil-building method called nejitate.
  • Experience the artistic and cultural treasures of Kyoto and Kanazawa, cities that combine ancient traditions with the best of modern Japan.
  • Visit nearby villages devoted to traditional paper making and metal work.
  • See local environmentally sustainable practices in the arts.
  • Experience how the arts can be part of “placemaking” and building a community identity.
  • Showcase your artistry in an exhibition of student work open to the public.

Japanese Kiln  


Undergraduate: ART 424, 4 or 5 units
Graduate/post-baccalaureate: ART 624, 4 or 5 units

*Note that there is additional coursework required for the 5-unit class. You will be asked if you wish to take the 5-unit section of the class about a month before the course start date.


$ 125


Ceramic artists and others (art historians, researchers, educators) interested in interdisciplinary approaches to the arts. The importance of ceramics in Japanese art history and contemporary life has led ceramicists to make pilgrimages to Japan for many decades. This is a rare chance to experience rural Japan, along with curated visits to world-class cultural sites in Kyoto and Kanazawa. Ceramic artists should be intermediate to advanced, and must be adept at wheel techniques.


  1. Please submit the following in a single document:
    1. A brief description of your experience in ceramics, your motivation for pursuing this trip, and any prior study of ecology, landscape, environment, or Japan. Please consider what you can contribute to a semi-communal living situation in which we seek to respect both our fellow travelers and our hosts in the village.
    2. One reference from an instructor or someone familiar with your work and character. The reference can be sent directly to the coordinator.
    3. – 5 images of work samples.
  2. Submit/upload the materials listed in step one when you apply online by March 18, 2019.


Professor Brad Monsma

Guest Artists

Hikaru Hyuga

Hikaru Hyuga-sensei is head of the Echizen Ceramic Research Center and a master of the traditional nejitate coil-building technique, which was resurrected from the study of archaeological finds in the hills surrounding Echizen. Along with personal instruction from Hyuga-sensei, you’ll have the chance to meet artists with extensive exhibition records in Japan and internationally: Other information and images of Echizen can be found here:

Amiko Matsuo –

Amiko Matsuo’s ceramic art focuses on mixed media installation that addresses environmental concerns and transmigratory identity. With references to the history of ceramics and its materials, her work often identifies salient moments of cross-cultural exchange. She also publishes articles on ceramic art history and is the translator of Art Place Japan: The Echigo-Tsumari Triennale and the Vision to Reconnect Art and Nature. She is the head of 3D Fine Arts at Allan Hancock College, where she teaches ceramics, design, sculpture, and drawing.

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION for Ceramics and satoyama in Japan

This course takes place in two locations: in Echizen Pottery Village ( and in Kyoto. The first 18 days will be in Echizen, and the final three will be in Kyoto.

Echizen Pottery Village is a small, remote village in Fukui Prefecture. People there will, for the most part, not speak any English at all. The course will provide translators for the in-class hours, but translators will not be available for non-class times.

Meals for this course in Echizen will mostly be planned communal-style. There is no grocery store or market in Echizen, and participants will be taken shopping in a nearby town approximately once a week. If you have any special dietary needs, please consider carefully in your planning how you can accommodate your needs.

The last three days of the course will be in Kyoto. The class will visit museums, shrines, and other important historic pottery sites. Participants will be on their own for meals in Kyoto, and there are many varied, delicious, and affordable food options throughout the city.

Pre-departure orientation will be on Saturday May 4. During orientation, participants will be provided with information on: culture and etiquette, what to bring, what to expect, travel, food, and many other details. All questions will be answered! Participants may attend in-person (strongly recommended) or by Zoom internet conference.

Don't be intimidated! This course will be a fully-immersive, once-in-a-lifetime event. Everything will be very different and unusual for participants who have never been to Asia. However, people in Echizen and elsewhere are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and everyone will go out of their way to make sure each participant has a wonderful experience. 


Summer Arts will make flight and train schedule recommendations to participants beginning in April, and will provide each participant with full recommended travel details.

Participants will make their own flight arrangements and have the option of flying to any airport in Japan (or arriving early). Kansai Airport in Osaka is the closest international airport to Echizen.

Participants must appear at Kansai Airport in Osaka by 4pm on June 2 to be on the chartered bus to Echizen (whether or not you have flown into Kansai Airport). 

Summer Arts will provide bus transportation to the train station in nearby Takefu on July 20. Participants must purchase their own tra​in tickets to Kyoto, and make their own arrangements to get to the lodging of their choice in Kyoto.

Kyoto is a major city with great public transportation. Participants will be on their own (with lots of advice) for transportation around Kyoto and for their transportation back to the airport or to any other location if they choose to continue their travels.


NOTE THAT HOUSING BOOKED THROUGH SUMMER ARTS IS IN ECHIZEN ONLY, AND BEGINS ON SUNDAY JUNE 2 AND ENDS ON THURSDAY JUNE 20 (18 NIGHTS TOTAL.) There are several housing options in Echizen, and costs range from $333 for a dormitory/group sleep room-style accommodation to $1260 for a single-occupancy bedroom. Please note that no accommodation in Echizen offers private en-suite bathrooms.


PARTICIPANTS MUST ALSO RESERVE THEIR OWN LODGING IN KYOTO FOR THE NIGHTS OF JUNE 20-23. These are mandatory class days in Kyoto. This housing is NOT included in the housing payment which you will make to Summer Arts, and participants must pay their Kyoto hotel directly for their accommodation in the city. Summer Arts will provide a list of hotel recommendations in April, but participants are welcome to stay anywhere they like in Kyoto.


Note: Ceramics and Satoyama in Japan has an application process that differs from that of other Summer Arts courses. Please read the following information carefully.

Submit complete application:

DUE on Monday, March 18, 2019

Students notified of status of application:

Monday, March 25, 2019


Enrollment Fee
Undergraduate, California resident, 4 or 5 units $1685
Graduate, California resident, 4 or 5 units $2102
Undergraduate, Non-California resident, 4 units $3269
Undergraduate, Non-California resident, 5 units $3665
Graduate, Non-California resident, 4 units $3686
Graduate, Non-California resident, 5 units $4082
Other Fees
Materials Fee
Insurance fee
Housing in Echizen
Airfare (estimate)
Other transportation (estimate)
Cell Phone (estimate)$100
Food/spending money (estimate)

Payment deadlines: The following are DUE dates, not postmarked dates:

Housing reservation and payment (for housing in Kyoto): $(varies)
Due on Friday, April 26, 2019 – check or money order PAYABLE TO TRUSTEES OF THE CSU

Insurance: $75​
Due on Friday, April 26, 2019 – check or money order PAYABLE TO TRUSTEES OF THE CSU
Note that the housing payment and insurance should be on one payment. 

Enrollment Fee: (varies)
Due on Friday, May 17, 2019 – electronic check, Visa or MasterCard PAYABLE TO FRESNO STATE

80% percent of  Summer Arts students receive some scholarship assistance. Scholarship awards will range from $100 to $2000. Scholarship funds are not available for housing or travel costs.

To apply for scholarship assistance, please complete the Summer Arts scholarship application when you apply online for admission to the course.


All participants will need a valid and current passport for travel to Japan. You will need to provide your passport number to CSU Summer Arts by May 10, 2019.

If you do not have a current passport, you are encouraged to apply for one immediately! Please check the Passport Office schedule before you apply and find out if you will need a rush order to obtain your passport in time. United States citizens do not need a visa to enter Japan, however, citizens of other countries may. Contact the Summer Arts office for more information about passports and visas.

For additional information, or if you have any questions, contact Joanne Sharp at, or 562-951-4065.


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