Destinations

IMARI / ARITA

If you visit Saga Prefecture, you can’t miss pottery.

Imari and Arita ware is one of the most famous potteries in Japan. In the mid-17th century, Yi Sam-pyeong from Korea’s Joseon dynasty, a potter, found a fine porcelain stone in Arita that could be used to make quality pottery. This was the start of Imari and Arita ware. Since the mid-17th century, when Sakaida Kakiemon introduced the technique of akae (enamel decoration on porcelain), more and more colorful and fancy porcelain products were created. These wares were transported from Imari Port to other parts of Japan, as well as to Europe. This is why these wares were called “Koimari” (old Imari).

Ookawachiyama, in the Imari region, has for centuries been a town of pottery and many kilns are still operating today. In the latter half of the 17th century, there was a kiln built by the Nabeshima clan for making special porcelain to be presented to the Tokugawa government and Imperial court. Nabeshima Hanyo Park is constructed here, and many kilns owned by highly skilled potters are built on this site.

Arita has many pottery shops and old houses and attracts many people from all over Japan, especially during the season of “Toki-ichi” (pottery market festival) from April 29th to May 5th every year. The streets of Arita are rich with the atmosphere of a pottery town. You can enjoy shopping at pottery shops and visiting kilns. There are also crafts centers where you can experience creating Arita ware using pottery wheels or with your hands, and finishing your creations with enamel decoration. Such experiences will leave you with good memories of your time in Arita.

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