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Photo By: PIXTA/sugicho
Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Saga
Population
876,664

Arita Ceramics Fair

Get ready to find your new perfect tea cup at the Arita Ceramics Fair

By Elizabeth Sok

With over 400 years of history in ceramics, the Arita in Saga Prefecture area is no stranger to porcelain. Located in the mountains of Kyushu and just a train ride away from bustling Fukuoka city, it makes for a great day trip.

For at least a century, visitors from all over Japan have flocked to the four kilometers between today’s Arita and Kami-Arita JR stations for an annual ceramics fair. Whether you’re a diehard pottery fan or just looking to window shop for ceramics, come to the Arita Ceramics Fair for an experience like no other in a quiet mountain town.

Arita Ceramics: A History

Arita Ceramics Fair

Photo by: PIXTA/sugicho Check out the finest wares from the birthplace of Japanese porcelain.

Arita ware, also known as Imari ware in the West, developed in the former Hizan territory located in present-day Saga and Nagasaki Prefectures. At the beginning of the 17th century, the first kilns were constructed and the signature blue and white ceramics began to be exported via the Dutch East India Company by the middle of the century. Today, Arita is recognized as the birthplace of Japanese porcelain and the town has been designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings by the Japanese government.

The Fair

Arita Ceramics Fair

Photo by: PIXTA/ Dパック Looking for the perfect bowl or cup? This is the festival for you.

With over 400 shops selling a wide variety of Arita ware, the fair is one part shopping experience and a one-part celebration of Japanese ceramics. Shoppers can browse established brick-and-mortar shops as well as pop-ups all showcasing a wide range of goods, from cups and teapots to dishes and bowls. The retailers also cover the spectrum from well-known brands to lesser-known, yet still exquisite, ceramists. Vendors tend to be friendly as the atmosphere lends itself to conversing and even the occasional bargaining. With so many shops to visit, it is recommended that buyers come with comfortable shoes as you’ll be covering a lot of ground as well as a good backpack or bag to carry your loot. Also, many stick around until the final day of the fair in hopes of snagging that perfect cup at a reduced price.

Taking a Break

Photo by: WikiCommons/ Butch Pop into one of the many establishments in town for a meal featuring Imabari beef or godofu.

While scouring the fair for great deals, you may need to recharge. Keep your eyes peeled for pop-up cafes to enjoy a tea or snack. As for an established restaurant, check out Gallery Arita which is about a ten-minute walk from JR Arita station. The menu includes dishes featuring Imari beef as well as godofu, an Arita specialty tofu. But, the best part may be the beautiful Arita ware on display and served at your table!

Things To Know

Festival dates

The fair takes place during Japan’s Golden Week holiday period which usually falls at the end of April and lasts until early May. The specific dates vary each year, so be sure to check ahead of time. 

Admission: It is free to walk around and browse the shops selling ceramics.

How To Get There

Address

By train

Take the JR Sasebo Line and get off at Arita or Kami-Arita station. The fair is held on the stretch between these two stations. 

Where To Stay

Arita Huis
  • 2351-169 Akasaka, Nishimatsura-gun Arita-cho, Saga, 844-0024 Japan
  • ¥11,000 - ¥28,600
  • 4.2/5 (46 reviews)
  • 1.3 km

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