Friday, May 31, 2024

A Brief Guide to Arita


If you have any interest in Japanese ceramics then Arita in Saga would be great to visit. If your interest is in Japanese porcelain then Arita is a must-visit.

In the area around Arita are numerous kilns, some still operating and some closed down.

Just outside town is the Arita porcelain park, a theme park with a German theme and an amazing replica of a Baroque German palace. It used to have exhibitions of historical ceramics but those have closed.

In the southern part of the town, near Arita station, is the large Kyushu Ceramics Museum which covers a lot of topics but is heavy on local porcelain. In the middle of town the Arita Ceramics Museum is much smaller but well worth a visit. To the north of the town next to the historic quarry where Japanese porcelain originated is yet another museum.

The main street of the town is lined with shops selling local porcelain, some more gallery-like and pricey, but many featuring "bargain bin" warehouses.

The whole, long street is a preservation district of traditional architecture, though as it almost all dates from the late 19th century following a major fire, there is a lot of western influence in the architecture.

As usual for me, I try to visit as many of the local shrines as I can, and in Arita the most popular is the Tozan Shrine featuring porcelain komainu and torii. You will also see Ebisu statues along the local roads as Hizen, the former name for Nagasaki and Saga prefectures, the Ebisu cult was very popular.

There are no particularly interesting temples in the town, though one does have some nice nio.

In the upper part of the town there are lots of working kilns and the  back streets have walls made out of recycled kiln bricks.

Kami Arita Station is at this end of town. The previous post on day 70 of my walk around Kyushu was on .a couple of local shrines.


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