The next stop on the tour was Hagi, a charming town of 60,000 on the Japan Sea known, among other things, for its great ceramic tradition that began late in the 16th century when a number of Korean potters were brought to this area of Japan.
We stayed at Tomoe Ryokan, a first-class modern inn that was built on the site of the previous Tomoe, which was destroyed by fire about 15 years ago. The kaiseki food at Tomoe can be intimidating for Westerners, but our guide had negotiated out the more edgy items, leaving us with a fantastic meal suitable for the adventurous Western palate.
As noted above, Hagi is famous for ceramics, and we had a great visit with Kaneta Masanao, an eighth generation potter who makes powerful sculptural vessels with variations of Hagi's traditional creamy white and pink glaze.
Hagi Ceramics by Kaneta Masanao