Brooklyn-based ceramicist Shino Takeda grew up in Kyushu Island in southern Japan, where her mother, a collector of traditional Japanese ceramics, influenced her profoundly. “My parents named me Shino, after a centuries-old ceramics style,” she explains with a laugh. Needless to say, her future career as an artist was written in the stars. With her brightly colored designs somewhat of an anomaly amid the more subdued tones of Japanese ceramics, Takeda draws inspiration from everything from places to moods. “When I choose the glazes for my ceramics, it really is like my diary,” she says. “I see a beautiful place, taste or feel something and that translates into a color palette.” One such example is Kyoto, a city she loves to visit and which presents an irresistible palette of deep browns and brilliant reds. “There are so many old buildings, thus the deep browns, and you see red lacquer everywhere!” With her artist’s eye, Takeda describes below some of her favorite haunts in Kyoto.

NISHIKI MARKET

“I always go here for about 20 or 30 minutes or so because it can be very crowded and noisy, but it is such an incredible place to explore. It is an arcade market with tons of vegetables (Kyōyasai) that are specific to Kyoto, along with very specific shops that are really fun to visit – a knife shop called Aritsugu, a really old-school vinegar shop that sells only that, plus soy sauce. I always go to the rice cracker shop and the sesame seed shop that sells whole seeds, crushed and roasted ones, plus hand grinders, the place is really special! I so appreciate these small, traditional family businesses because they are so passionate about their products.”

609 Higashiuoya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu

 

RYOANJI TEMPLE ROCK GARDEN

“The gardens in the temples in Kyoto are so quiet, even in the middle of the city. Ryoanji is one of my favorites. I go here to see the snow in the winter, fall foliage and spring flowers.”

13, Ryoanji Goryonoshitacho, Ukyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

 

RAKU MUSEUM

“Tea culture and tea ceremony are very important in Kyoto and this is where you can really learn about it through the Raku family that invented the traditional Japanese pottery style hundreds of years ago. Only tea ceremony pieces are on display, like tea bowls and flower vases, all of the elements from a traditional tea ceremony. I love to wander here.”

Aburahashizume-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu

 

KAWAI KANJIRO MEMORIAL MUSEUM

“Kawai was a famous ceramicist and this is the house that he lived in. The garden is beautiful and you can really see his artistic vision when you walk through the house. The style is wabi- sabi, which means it is both perfect and imperfect. The wood, ceramic and stone together feel so comfortable and both traditional and modern at the same time. It’s like heaven.”

569 Kanei-cho,Gojozaka Higashioji Nishiiru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

GION MORIWAKI “My friend is the chef at this incredibly delicious kaiseki restaurant, where you can see experience the seasons through the food. There are only ten seats and it is like a little maze when you walk in. The food is amazing and there are no menus.

570-177 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

 

STARDUST

“A gallery and beautiful home design store with a vegan cafe, this shop often has musical events that are fun to drop in for.”

41 Shimodakedono-cho, Shichiku Kitaku Kyoto

 

NAKAGYO-KU

“This is the residential neighborhood where I like to stay because it is about a 30 minute walk from Nishiki Market and it’s also close to the train station. It has a nice mix of old and new buildings and there are also quite a few hotels in the area. One of my favorite sake shops, Sake Cube, is here and the owner is so friendly and the sake is delicious. There is also a very cool old bath house called Izutsu-yu. I had a show in a gallery in the neighborhood called Gallery 35. Nearby is Shop & Gallery YDS that is fun to check out too.