Arita, a small town in Saga Prefecture, is known throughout Japan for its pottery called Arita-yaki. As a matter of fact, Arita was the first place in Japan where porcelain was produced. Arita’s pottery was popular both domestically and in China and Europe as well. Because the pottery was exported from the nearby Imari Port, Arita-yaki would also become known as Imari-yaki, particularly when describing the products manufactured for foreign markets.
Today, travelers to Arita can visit a small theme park called the Arita Porcelain Park and see first-hand the porcelain wares that this town is famous for. Located just outside of the town center, the park is a recreation of a traditional German village. The focal point of the park is the Zwinger Palace, a replica of the palace located in Dresden, Germany. Incidentally, Dresden is also famous for its local porcelain known as Meissen. Zwinger Palace at Arita Porcelain Park serves as a museum with an impressive collection of both Arita-yaki and European porcelain. Behind the museum, there is a gorgeous European style garden that affords excellent photo opportunities.
After touring the museum and garden, you may be interested in seeing the Tengudani Kiln. There is a workshop nearby, where you can create your own porcelain cups or bowls for a cost of about ¥800-4,000. If you are not interested in getting your hands dirty, there are plenty of shops within the park and around town, which sell porcelain wares. The main shop in the park also offers sake tasting for those inclined to cap off your day in this fashion.
The park operates between the hours of 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Although no entrance fee is charged to enter the park, there is a nominal ¥500 admission fee for the museum.
Accessing the park is relatively easy via the JR Arita Station on the Sasebo Line. The park is a mere 10-minute taxi ride from the station.
Address: Arita-machi Nishimatsuura-gun Saga-ken