確かな伝承技術と新しい瓦の世界

石州瓦

Sekishu Gawara

SEKISHU-GAWARA
ROOF TILES

San’in Good Thing Diary

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SEKISHU-GAWARA ROOF TILES

Sound traditional techniques
and a world of new tile products

Red tiles taken as far as Hokkaido on the Kitamaebune shipping route

Reddish-brown roof tiles are characteristic of the houses in the San’in region. While it might be an exaggeration to say that the Iwami region in the western part of Shimane Prefecture is the “Florence of Japan”, the scenic views of villages of houses with red tile roofs is impressive, and inspires a feeling of warmth.

Sekishu-gawara tiles, which developed in the Iwami area, date back to the early Edo period. Sekishu-gawara tile-making began when the first lord of the Hamada domain, Furuta Daizen Daifu Shigeharu of Matsuzaka Castle, Ise Province, took a tiler from Settsu Province with him when he moved to Hamada, to make tiles for the castle he built.

The reddish-brown color is achieved by glazing good quality, low iron white china clay with Kimachi stone from the Izumo region of Shimane. Sekishu-gawara soon became known as Aka-gawara, or red roof tiles.
Characteristics of the tiles are that they allow almost no water permeation, and can withstand frost and salt damage. Their high quality became known across the country, and it is said they were taken as far as Hokkaido on the Kitamaebune north bound shipping route, in addition to farming and fishing villages in neighboring prefectures.

The impressive world of new tiles,
born of 200 years of traditional techniques

In 1806, in the late Edo period, Seiji Iwata, the first generation tile maker of Kamedani, received permission from the Hamada domain to make tiles, and built a kiln in Kamedani village. He was the son of the tiler who accompanied the first lord of Hamada to the region, and a maid of the Hamada domain. He was also the first generation owner of the present-day Kamedani Ceramics, Co., Ltd Kamedani Ceramics has continued to make Sekishu-gawara roof tiles since its establishment over 200 years ago. Norio Kamedani is the 9th generation owner, and he protects and refines the techniques.

One of the features of Kamedani Ceramics’s tiles is the baking temperature, which is high, even for Sekishu-gawara tiles. Normal Sekishu-gawara tiles are baked at 1200°C, which is higher than those of other areas, however, Kamedani Ceramics bakes tiles at 1350°C, which is the highest baking temperature in the world. As a result, they are strengthened, and the water absorption rate is around 1%, an astounding figure. We are living in an age when everything is becoming automated, however, Kamedani Ceramics painstakingly crafts each tile, glazing each one by hand, and continues to make them using the traditional method.

In recent years, with surefire techniques backed up by 200 years of history, Kamedani Ceramics has ambitiously begun to create new products. Its tiles even line the walls of popular restaurants in the big cities.

“This grater looks very handy, doesn’t it?” says Captain Uchiyama.
“I’m making it so it will bring out the aroma more so than one made of shark skin,” says Mr. Kamedani. The gallery of the renovated house built by his grandparents 90 years ago is packed with tile tableware.

{ Access }

  • ●Access to Kamedani Ceramics: Approximately 7 minutes by car from Hamada
    Station, JR San’in Line

  • ●736 Nagasawa-cho, Hamada City, Shimane Prefecture

San’in Good Thing Diary

List

SEKISHU-GAWARA ROOF TILES