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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Streetscapes dotted with ceramic work in two of Asia's greatest porcelain towns

If you are in Kyushu and have an interest in traditional Japanese artistry, especially pottery, Arita and Imari are essential stops for you. The two pottery towns are quaint, quiet and filled with narrow alleys, old buildings, and protruding chimneys from the pottery kilns.

Don't Miss

  • The hand-crafted ceramic work dotted across the area
  • Pick up a bargain at Japan's largest ceramic market
  • Arita Porcelain Park's European atmosphere

How to Get There

Both Arita and Imari are a short ride from Saga Station—a major stop on the JR line linking Fukuoka to Nagasaki.

The journey to Arita on the JR Sasebo Line from Saga Station takes roughly 40 minutes. Express trains from Hakata Station in Fukuoka take a little under 90 minutes. To get between Arita and Imari take the Matsuura Railway Nishi-Kyushu Line. JR passes cannot be used between Arita and Imari.

Quick Facts

Arita is considered the birthplace of Japanese porcelain

Arita porcelain was originally produced exclusively for Japan's elite

Huge quantities of porcelain from Arita were exported to Europe

The home of Japanese porcelain

A great deal of porcelain history has taken place in this area, so a recommended first stop for you is The Kyushu Ceramic Museum. Here you can learn about the origins of the region as well as ceramic production, and its evolution over time.

Visit the area's sacred past

The nearby Tozan Shrine—officially known as Sueyama-jinja—is unique in that many of its features that would normally be made from stone are made from porcelain instead. Since Tozan is situated on a hill, you are also rewarded with some spectacular views of the town and its lush, mountainous backdrop.

European grandeur in lavish grounds

A trip to Arita Porcelain Park offers a drastic change of scenery, which might even make you forget you are in Japan. This park features a stunning garden and palace designed in the style of 18th-century German Baroque architecture. This is said to be a tribute to Arita's influence on European ceramic design.

Calling all pottery collectors

Each year during Japan's Golden Week, which generally runs from April 29th to May 5th, Arita hosts one of the largest ceramic fairs in Japan. Hundreds of vendors set up shop. It's an opportunity to obtain some very special pieces at affordable prices.

Ceramics galore

Golden Week isn't the only time reserved for ceramic hunting. There's also the Arita Ceramics Home Plaza, which is open year-round and features over 20 stores offering a vast selection of quality ceramic items.

The historic Okawachiyama village

After acquainting yourself with pottery culture in Arita, head over to Okawachiyama Village in Imari. Here you will find yourself in a secluded, historic setting within the mountains featuring kilns, pottery workshops, and stores. This small, densely populated pottery village is quite a contrast to the modern setting of the surrounding city.

The spirit of Japanese craftsmanship

Arita and Imari are most famous for their pottery; however, a trip to these locations also provides an intimate glimpse into the world of traditional Japanese craftsmanship. Many of the techniques have been passed down through generations, and are still being practiced today.

Going further

Your visit to the pottery hubs of Arita and Imari will take the better part of a day, but if you have time to spare, be sure to head over to the quaint seaside of Imari City. Wander the history-filled streets and visit the famous Koimari Clock, which is also made from porcelain.

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