Arita/Imari Area

Saga, Kyushu

Arita is the undisputed cradle of porcelain manufacturing. Imari is an intermediary for east and west exchange.

Arita, the cradle of porcelain manufacturing in Japan, is a quiet town among mountains, located in the western part of Saga. Ri Sampei (Korean name, Lee Cham-Pyung), a potter from Korea, discovered a fine-quality white porcelain mineral in Mt. Arita-Izumi-yama. This was the beginning of Arita's development into an internationally known town of porcelain. A monument in memory of Ri Sampei stands in Toyama-jinja Shrine, Arita's chief tutelary shrine.

White-walled houses originating in the 1930s and old Western-style buildings are still present in the Uchiyama area, where many potters once lived. At the back of these buildings, there are Tonbai fences made of used fireproof bricks and old-fashioned potteries. Pottery and porcelain lovers must visit the Kyushu Ceramic Museum and the Arita Ceramic Art Museum in town, where they can see exquisite pottery and porcelain pieces.

Imari, located on the coast of Imari Bay lying between the Higashi Matsu-ura-hanto Peninsula and the Kita Matsu-ura-hanto Peninsula, is a fine natural port and was once an intermediary for the east-west exchange of porcelain. Remnants of the good old days still exist in O-kawachiyama, a secluded pottery center in the mountains. In the 17th and 18th centuries, top-quality gift pieces for the Imperial Court and Shoguns were manufactured there. Accordingly, the porcelain manufacturing method and potters were under very strict management.


From Tokyo:
[Air] 1h 50 min from Haneda to Fukuoka Airport, and 5 min from the airport to Hakata Station by subway. 1h 20 min from Hakata to Arita Station by JR Nagawaki-Sasebo Line (limited express), and 25 min from Arita to Imari Station by Matsuura Line.
[Rail] 5 h from Tokyo to Hakata Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line.
From Osaka:
[Air] 1h 15 min from Itami to Fukuoka Airport.
[Rail] 2h 30 min from Shin-Osaka to Hakata Station by Shinkansen.

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