Partner of Historical Japanese Landmarks
Funatsu-cho in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture, is a town blessed by the clear waters of Ichi-kawa River and an abundance of nature. The tile industry here was established in 1805 by order of the lord of Himeji Castle due to the wealth of high quality clay, the key raw material. It is in this historical town of Funatsu that the Koyo Seiga Ibushi Kawara Tile Industry lies.
The company was established in 1923. Ibushi Kawara tiles, made of high-quality clay which is first oxidation fired before being reduction smoked in our Koyo kilns, have been highly regarded all over Japan for their unparalleled strength and beauty. These Ibushi Kawara and the superior technology required to produce them have been recognized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and we produced Ibushi Kawara for the main keep in the recent large-scale renovation of Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage. Through our production of special tiles for numerous shrines, temples, and castles, we have played a significant role in bequeathing traditional architecture to the future.
Koyo Ibushi are interior materials produced by Koyo Seiga. These beautiful and durable Ibushi Kawara, produced from natural materials, can be used as a feature within a space, or to clad an entire building. Utilizing traditional techniques from the birthplace of tiles and transferring them to the present day―this is our new challenge.
From Roofs to Walls―Evolving in Its 5000th year
A Traditional Material from Thousands of Years Ago
According to one theory, Ibushi Kawara have a history stretching back 4000 to 5000 years. The Nihon Shoki, the “Chronicles of Japan”, states that tiles first came to Japan from China for the construction of Asuka-dera Temple in 588 A.D.
Strong yet Delicate Ibushi Kawara
Ibushi Kawara, which are a type of porous ceramic, are famous for their strength. Most roofing materials can be expected to have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, but Ibushi Kawara are durable enough to last twice that length of time. Another reason they are loved so much is the fact that they are made from just two completely natural materials – soil and carbon, and they are particularly popular still as they are both environmentally friendly and non-hazardous to people. These tiles are also known for their insulation properties and their far-infrared effect, demonstrating ability that holds ground with leading-edge materials. Koyo Ibushi materials make full use of the excellent characteristics of Ibushi Kawara.
The Shimmer of Ibushi Silver
The austere silver of Ibushi Kawara is created by a layer of carbon. The reason these are sometimes called ‘smoked tiles’ is that a special smoking process takes place at the end of the firing process, which creates this unique luster without dusting the tiles with metal. The Koyo Ibushi materials gently reflect the sunlight when used as external wall materials, and reflect room lighting and indirect light when used indoors. The shimmer of Ibushi silver subtly changes over time. The fact that the texture changes with age is perhaps another reason the Ibushi Kawara are loved so much.
Soil, Carbon, and Handiwork
At Koyo Seiga we create a blend of unique proportions using a number of types of clay, each of which has different qualities. We fire the clay slowly over time, maximizing the merits of each variety of clay, and smoke it to form the beautiful Ibushi silver carbon layer. The handiwork of our craftsmen is also indispensable. The surface is elaborately polished and smoothed with a spatula and a trowel before the firing process. The properties of the clay are carefully examined, and the pre-firing form of the Ibushi Kawara is minutely adjusted based on seasonal differences in temperature and humidity to ensure uniformity and to maintain constant high quality.
A random combination of square parts of varying tones and thicknesses.
Savor the way the expression changes depending on the direction of the light.
SUPER SMALL (ITAR-20)
|Product Name||SUPER SMALL||SMALL||MIDDLE||LAGE||LARGE (floor tile)||LL||REGO|
|Size including seams (mm)||115×115||108×108||147×147||135.5×135.5||135.5×135.5||324×324||133.5×138.5|
The attraction of this series is in its expression of light and shade combined with a feeling of width and spaciousness.
The contrast between light and shade creates stunning beauty.
HARIMA/INABA shared corner (ITB-C)
|Product Name||YAMA A||YAMA B||YAMA (edge tile)||SATO||SATO (edge tile)||HARIMA・INABA
|Size including seams (mm)||300×225||300×225||---||300×225||---||300×60|
An interlocking layout of pieces of different height levels.
The light produces a luster and shadow, creating an artistic countenance.
HARIMA/INABA shared corner (ITB-C)
|Size including seams (mm)||300×200||300×60|
|Sheets/m²||16.7||3.3 sheets per meter|
Large square Koyo Ibushi tiles.
Reversible tiles, the surface with fine slits of which leaves a lasting impression.
The flat lustrous side bounces the light back beautifully.
Wall tile (JIN-300W)
Floor tile (JIN-300F)
|Product Name||Front (patterned)/Back (plain) wall tiles||Front (patterned)/Back (plain) floor tiles|
|Size including seams (mm)||---||---|
An elaborate design which maximizes the effect of sharp lines.
Choose from stately BLACK, beautifully shiny SILVER, or MIX, which combines the two.
|Size including seams (mm)||225×110||225×110||225×110|
A combination of rectangular parts – two horizontal and two vertical.
This interwoven mosaic of Ibushi silver is the perfect feature within a space.
FLATWall tile (ITK-11)
FLAT (floor tile) (ITK-11-F)
Uneven type (ITK-12)
|Product Name||FLAT (wall tile)||FLAT (floor tile)||Uneven type|
|Size including seams (mm)||137.5×137.5||137.5×137.5||137.5×137.5|
Square parts which enable you to savor different Ibushi silver timbres.
Use whichever number of tiles you choose in your favorite place.
75 (wall tile)（ITAR-75-9）
75 (floor tile)（ITAR-75-15）
100 (wall tile)（ITAR-100）
|Product Name||75 (wall tile)||75 (floor tile)||100 (wall tile)|
|Size including seams (mm)||---||---||---|
|Product Name||BORDER 20||BORDER 25||IRAKA 16||IRAKA 25||IRAKA 50|
- Made in JAPAN
- A II unglazed tile (type II/stone quality)
- Only to be used with adhesive
- ■Must be used with an interior type modified silicone adhesive
- ■When used on exteriors, use a modified silicone epoxy type bond
- ■Please confirm surface water resistance with backing when using outside or on a damp surface
- ■Tiles have color irregularities and color depth typical of fired pottery
- ■Water absorption ratio approximately 5%
- ■Due to their characteristics, tiles must be handled with care as smoked tile surface is easily damaged and may peel
- ■Do not apply curing tape or masking tape to the smoked tile surface
- ■Not suitable for acid wash
- ■Joining material may be visible through the cracks in tiles with seams
- ■Please enquire as stock levels are low. Orders for out of stock items will take approximately 1 month to produce
- ■Sizes shown are standard dimensions. Please be aware when laying out that dimensions may be imprecise in some batches
|Company name||Koyo Seiga Co., Ltd, Traditional Japanese Ibushi Kawara Tile Industry|
|Location||5241-5 Funatsu-cho, Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan 679-2101|
|Established||March 10, 1923|
Traditional Japanese Ibushi Kawara Tile Industry
– creating tiles for Himeji Castle,
a UNESCO World Heritage.