Arita is an artisan town that is hugely famous for porcelain ceramics and is known throughout Japan and the world as being the birthplace of Japanese porcelain. However, Arita has more to offer than just pottery! It has a different atmosphere compared to many other places in Saga due to the fact that it is so lost in time. Take a walk along the winding main street “Porcelain Road” to see tons of chimneys used for firing pottery and dozens of shops crammed full of beautiful ceramics.
Arita is comprised of two main districts: Arita and Nishi-Arita. Arita has approximately 20,000 residents and is tucked away in the deep mountain valleys formed by the famous Mt. Kurokami, among others.
- One city/municipal ALT who works at all six schools (elementary and junior high)
- One German CIR who works for the Arita Town Office, whose job is closely tied to Arita’s sister city relationship with Meissan, Germany.
Places of Interest
Japan’s pottery Mecca is full of surprises. Have a look below!
- Tozan Jinja – This shrine that is nestled RIGHT against a huge train track has the only Tori gate in Japan made completely out of porcelain. You can take a walk up to the top of the shrine and get a beautiful look out of the whole city.
- Arita and Ryumon Dam – These two dams have gorgeous views of the water and mountains that run throughout Arita. Ryumon Dam has a clear and free running spring water tap where you can fill up your spare bottles for some refreshing and delicious water. There are also trails to go for nature walks in the woods.
- 魔女のフライパン (Witch’s Frying Pan) – A great place located in Nishi Arita with funky decorations and a variety of cheap food and drinks. Specialties include ume pizza, cheese mochi, taco rice, kimchi pork, and many more!
- トラジ (Toraji) – If you’re in the mood for Korean food Arita has what you’re looking for. Authentic home-cooked Korean dishes such as bibimbap, japchae, and Korean BBQ can all be found here for reasonable prices.
ギャラリー (Gallery) – enjoy your meal or dessert surrounded by thousands of porcelain cups. With the purchase of a coffee or tea you are able to choose a cup from the walls in which to enjoy your beverage. This is a great way to enjoy the tastes as well as the beauty of Arita’s specialties.
- Arita Ceramics Fair – Once a year during Golden Week, Arita becomes a busy and bustling city where more than 600 shops line the stretch between JR Arita Station and Kamiarita Station. Many tourists from all over Japan come to see the porcelain and get some amazing deals. 2016 celebrates the 400th anniversary of the birth of Arita porcelain and will be the biggest event in decades.
- Porcelain Tours – Watch out for porcelain tours offered by the city and the Arita CIR. You can learn about the history, try your hand at making your own porcelain creations, and check out the town’s famous sights. Typically there are two or three tours throughout the year in spring and fall.
Sasebo and Hasami by car or train. Saga City and Fukuoka by train from JR Arita Station. Nishi-Arita, Imari, and Karatsu (via Imari) by the local Matsuura Rail (MR).