Traditional pottery developed in Arita
Saga Prefecture has made its name across the world for its Imari/Arita Ware pottery. The origins for the area began long ago when potters were brought over from the Korean Peninsula due to the Imjin War by Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and even the feudal lord for the Saga clan also brought over some of these potters. The potters who settled in Arita tried various methods in their work ranging from Korea’s Yi Dynasty techniques to Chinese techniques in dyeing, white porcelain and blue porcelain so that porcelain ware as a whole began to develop. In 1646, potters such as Kakiemon Sakaida succeeded in the glazing technique known as “akae” to paint designs through colors such as red, green and yellow so that Japan’s first examples of ceramic art were born. The East India Company’s purchases of Arita Ware in 1650 led to the increase of its popularity especially among European nobility in that part of the world, and it was from that time that Arita Ware gained its other name of Imari or Imari Ware. Imari/Arita Ware with its 400 years of history is known for brilliant colors painted over its beautiful white surface, and in the areas of Imari City and Arita Town, you can encounter a rich variety of products ranging from everyday items to art works.
Enjoying Imari/Arita Ware
Arita Porcelain Park is a theme park dedicated to pottery which has facilities such as Arita Ware workshops, souvenir shops, climbing kilns and an Arita Ware gallery inside buildings created to resemble those of the Zwinger palace in Dresden, Germany. The “Arita Pottery Village Plaza – Arita Ware Oroshidanchi” is an Arita Ware shopping mall with 24 stores including everything from high-quality goods to popular items. “Kakiemon Kama” is a facility which displays and sells the wares of generations of Kakiemon including those of the 14th generation who was a Living National Treasure. The ruins of the Okawachi Yamanabeshima Kilns are surrounded in three directions by mountains and are located in an isolated area whose distinct scenery is reminiscent of a Chinese-style landscape. The secret kilns were once under the control of the Nabeshima clan and have a history of 300 years. Arita Pottery Market is open during the Golden Week holidays when 1 million people from all over Japan come to visit up to 500 shops.