Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Enduring Earthenware : Donabe

Donabe, one of the workhorses of the traditional Japanese kitchen, is an earthenware pot used for everything from roasting tea leaves to slow-cooking stews and porridge. Although numerous in the past, donabe makers have dwindled to just a few companies. In Iga village (where the best-known donabe were produced) there is only one company remaining: Iga Mono.

Iga Mono has been run by the Nagatani family for over 180 years, crafting pottery from unique Biwakoso clay. This clay, formerly the lake bed of Lake Biwa, is laden with the microscopic remains of aquatic life. When fired, these burn up and leave tiny pockets of air, thus making Iga Mono’s donabe quick to heat and slow to cool – precisely what the perfect slow-cooker should do. 

Momo acquired these beautiful donabe from a gentleman who purchased them in the 1960s with the intent of opening a restaurant. Handmade, wheel-thrown and wood-fired (in an earthen kiln built in the 1830s!) they feature a peony motif and lustrous turquoise handles. The largest of the three was used once, and the other two are unused.

Outer diameter dimensions are:
Medium 9"
Large 10.5"
Family 12"

Prices range from $75 - $125

Medium and large donabe are unused, the ‘family’ size was used once. 

A gorgeous trio.


  1. What a coincidence! I blogged about donabe today too. :)

    1. Hi Sherry, thanks for checking out the blog! I'll give a read to yours, too. Donabe unto others as you would have them donabe unto you!

  2. My beans deserve donabe.

  3. Your rice, too! Thanks for reading.