Tajimi City: There’s Life in Tiles

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“A little damage makes people more interesting, right?”

This quote from C. Hapka from Something Borrowed is true not just for people but for things, too.

Japan is known for “kintsugi” or “kinstukuroi” in which they mend broken objects and aggrandize them by filling the cracks with gold. Though pottery damages are not my main subject on this post, I just like to introduce their belief of: “When something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.”.

 Tiles have become part of people’s daily living in Kasahara Town, Tajimi City.   The tile manufacturing in and around Tajimi began during the Taisho era (1912-26) and after the World War II. When local tile production was starting to decline in 1995, a few volunteers started building a collection of rescued and other “mosaic tiles”. They salvaged buildings earmarked for demolition and asked product samples from tile factories set to close down. They felt the need of the local tile industry to maintain pride in its manufacturing heritage and to continue this legacy in the coming years.

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Mosaic tile – In Japan, it refers to small tiles up to 50 cm2 in size. It comes in many shapes, which are combined to create patterns for surface-decorating architecture and fittings.

At first, their requests from these various tile companies and building owners were met with bafflement. Who would not be bewildered? What would they do with these broken pieces? Yet, thanks to their extreme efforts, their synergy resulted in the preservation of extremely rare materials forming the massive collection found in Tajimi Tile Mosaic Museum — their new home.

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The Museum has a very captivating facade. Well, honestly, it was my initial reason why I wanted to visit the museum, not knowing I’ll be up for something more and extraordinary upon entering its IGable door. 😉

The Museum is divided into 4 floors: (4th Floor) Exhibition Room 1; (3rd Floor) Exhibition Rm 2 and Gallery; (2nd Floor) Exhibition Rm 3; and (1st/ Ground Flr) Information Desk, Workshop and Museum Shop. It is recommended for guests to climb the grand staircase all the way to the 4th floor first after buying the admission ticket, and then take the elevator (or stairs) to the next floor down.

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Tiles embedded add sparkle to the surfaces of natural clay, the raw material of tiles.

My favorite floor is of course the 4th. Why? Every corner was superb when captured, definitely IGable and striking. You’ll be impressed too on how these small pieces made up formidable and attractive artworks. The room displays various tiles selected by Terunobu Fujimori, an internationally acclaimed architect and architectural historian. The exhibits include a wide range of tile-related products and painted tiles from the museum collection.

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The 3rd  floor displays and shows how tiles are made, along with the history of the local tile industry. Displays are changed periodically to reflect latest research. Temporary exhibitions are also put on show.

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The 2nd floor showcases the tile industry today and presents the latest tile news. There is also a Concierge Counter where consultations are available.

The 1st floor is where you can buy your tickets in the Information Desk; where you can experience mosaic-tile crafts trial and hands-on activities in the Workshop area; and where you can buy souvenirs and gifts in the Museum Shop.

 

  • Open: 9:00 – 17:00 (Last admission: 16:30)
  • Close: Every Monday (When Monday is a national holiday, open on that Monday and closed the following Tuesday instead.); December 29 – January 3; Museum and galleries were sometimes also closed temporarily for maintenance and renovation.
  • Admission: 300 JPY for adults; free for high school aged and below.

How To Get There

  1. Public Transportation. Take buses from South Terminal 2 of JR Tajimi Station. Travel time takes about 20 minutes and get off at “Mosaic Tile Museum”.
  2. Google maps and car navigation systems are always reliable while driving around Japan. Parking fee is free but the museum shares a parking lot with Kasahara Central Public Hall and other facilities, so parking space is limited. It’s suggested to use public transport as much as possible.

 

Enjoy and have fun!

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