Who doesn’t love colourful porcelain crockeries? And for a reasonable price too? We’re talking about the Arita Ceramics Fair that happens in the last week of April every year at Arita, the porcelain capital of Japan. In fact, you don’t have to be a fully committed porcelain collector to want to hoard them all the moment you see it.
Arita is a small town in the western Saga Prefecture of Japan that is known for producing artistic handmade porcelain dishes. The Arita Ceramics fair is largest ceramic fair of Western Japan and attracts thousands of people during the fair which features more than 550 shops and stalls along a 4km long street, all selling the ceramics that the town is known for.
The best part about visiting the fair is that you can bargain with the vendors to an agreeable level and buy the colourful dishes.
So why is Arita such an important centre for ceramics?
The people of Arita talks about a legendary Korean potter who settled in Arita around the 16th-century. Known as Yi Sam-pyeong, the potter was said to have found a deposit of suitable clay for porcelain production in the Izumi mountains of Arita, and subsequently started making porcelain in Arita. Thanks to his expertise, he is regarded as the father of Japanese porcelain and the town of Arita even has a monument commemorating his contributions to Japan.
While the existence of Yu Sam-pyeong is being disputed by historians, the quality of ceramics from Arita is undeniable as it was exported to Europe by the Dutch East India Company, even throughout the Edo period, when Japan isolated itself from the rest of the world.
The kilns of Arita have been producing ceramics since the 17th-century and the fair provides an opportunity to many artists and potters alongside the wonderful ceramic ware.
The Arita fair has different kinds of rice bowls, cooking pots, soup bowls, plates, chop sticks, mugs, tea pots, platters, cutlery, and other attractive decorative items. Hina-dolls made from porcelain are yet another attraction at the fair.
You will also find food stalls that sell some authentic Japanese cuisines. So if you plan to visit Japan and are an ardent fan of dishware you know where to go.
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