If you are thinking about being in Japan – in or near Kyoto – during the third weekend of October, seriously consider going to the annual ceramics sale that takes place in Yamashina.
The kilns used to be up Dojo-dori along the mountain. You will know this if you have stepped into Kawaii Kanjiro’s house and studio near Kiyomizu-dera. But the smoke sent the big kilns out into the countryside, not far, in Yamashina. The third weekend of October every year has hundreds of shops and stalls open to the public. Free transportation is provided. Just ask at the JR Station on how to find it. You can wander for an entire day. If you plan to buy, take some strong tote bags with you and an extra suitcase! Leave the suitcase in your hotel. There are food stalls and places to even make a pot if you desire.
The work is excellent and much is reasonably priced. This is why I mention the extra suitcase. You might also want to consider bubble wrap. Take a small piece and go into the nearest office supply or yen store and show them the sample. They will come running back with a roll. Remember packing tape. Wrap so you can toss it like a baseball, insert into the luggage so it can’t roll around or bag against something else and there you have it – the beginning of your obsession to be there every year! I should mention that if you are lucky, it is also leaf changing season. There is no better place to be!