Imari is a relatively large city in north-western Saga. The town consists of around 55,000 people and is known for its pottery and agricultural products such as grapes, pears, and beef.

For a mostly rural town there are a surprising amount of metropolitan distractions such as a Best Denki, Mister Donut, and Kaitenzushi. To balance out these amenities are plenty of rice paddies and quiet temples.

Who’s here

  • There is one prefectural ALT who teaches senior high school in the area, and two private city ALTs.

Places of Interest

Imari is a city with a long history, most notable for its pottery. One of the biggest attractions in Imari is Okawachiyama, the hidden pottery village. From Imari Station, it is a short bus ride to the village. One can take many beautiful pictures here and visit various pottery studios. Major events in Imari include October’s Ton Ten Ton festival, pottery festivals in April and November, a wind chime festival in August in Okawachiyama, and a fireworks festival in August. And if you every get too hot during the summer, Imari Beach is a perfect getaway spot to cool down!


The city center has an increasing variety of bars, restaurants, and cafes. Imari is famous for its beef. Many restaurants in Imari offer Imari beef – you will see the signs for 伊万里牛 adorning many restaurants. In fact, there are many yakiniku restaurants throughout the city where one can try the marbled beef.

There are also fruit stands are open along the roads into Imari selling produce from local farmers.  While Imari may seem like a sleepy town, several bars and restaurants are must-visits and various revitalization projects have made this city one to watch.

Bars of note:

  • Grasshopper
  • Ragazza
  • Cafe and Dining Bar Air
  • Gin


  • Drive in Tori – a wonderful yakitori restaurant that is a short taxi ride outside the town’s center
  • Tomato Head – an Italian restaurant  with delicious pizza
  • Cafe Museum – a cafe/bar with various events, live music, and a cool atmosphere
  • Chingu to Kokode チングとここで
  • Bouillon – a great French restaurant in town with a rotating menu written on a chalkboard around the restaurant.

Imari also boasts a world-class sake – Iwamiya stocks competition winning sake. There is also a particular brand of Sake brewed near Imari that is famous for its connection to the mythical Kappa. Discovered hidden in a sealed box while refurbishing, a Kappa mummy has since been enshrined at the brewery and adorns the boxes and labels of the Sake. Visitors can go along to the Matsuura Brewery and take a tour of the brewery and see the mummy for themselves.

Getting there

The town straddles the Matsuura Railway (with trains from Arita and elsewhere along the Matsuura Peninsula) and the JR Chikuhi Line which provides a direct route to Karatsu taking 50 minutes. There are  also direct bus routes that go to Fukuoka, Sasebo, and Okawachiyama Village.