This 2-day private tour is a combination of the experiences 'Arita Ware Private Tour & Lesson with a Master Potter' and 'Luxury Kaiseki Lunch With Arita Ware & Gen-emon Kiln Tour.' An overnight stay at the elegant Arita Huis hotel is also included.
Arita ware traces its history to the beginning of the Edo period (1603–1867) when the Korean potter Yi Sam-pyeong discovered valuable porcelain clay at Izumiyama. He became known as the father of Arita ware. The porcelain industry expanded, and Arita ware soon became highly valued, not only in Japan but also in Europe. Early types of Arita ware were known for a distinctive decoration called 'sometsuke' (underglaze blue). Later, bright-colored overglaze and even specific styles emerged. Today, Arita ware is still the best-known type of Japanese porcelain, highly acclaimed and deeply valued by artists and connoisseurs from Japan and around the world. In this private 2-day tour you can immerse yourself in the heritage and secrets of Arita. After a visit to the Kyushu Ceramic Museum, your guide will take to Yasuna restaurant for an extraordinary kaiseki meal. It will use pieces of Arita ware, representing different styles and time periods — from the Edo period, to the Meiji era, to the present. Owned by an antiques dealer and collector, Yasuna is a virtual paradise for antique lovers. Countless unique pieces of Arita ware are displayed in the owner's private showroom. After the meal, you'll have time to look at and purchase these rare items. Accompanying you for the meal is a knowledgeable guide that will explain the tableware used, as well as the Arita ware on display. Relish and savor the cuisine, while appreciating the beauty of Arita porcelain. After lunch, you will tour Gen-emon Kiln, the maker of some of the unique tableware used during your meal. Enter the studio and see its artisans at work. You will also see the studio's wood-fire kiln which is used only a few times a year on special occasions to conserve wood-firing technology. You'll spend the night at the elegant Arita Huis hotel, newly opened in 2018 as part of Arita Será, the largest outdoor shopping center for Arita ware. On the second day, your guide will introduce you to Arita's historical district of Uchiyama, where you can see the traces of 400 years of porcelain-making at Izumiyama Quarry and the Tonbai Walls. You'll visit craft studios and kilns that are not typically open to the public, including Imaemon Kiln, of which the 13th-generation Imaemon and the current head — the 14th-generation Imaemon — have been designated as Living National Treasures. Finally, you'll get a private lesson on a pottery wheel with the 14th-generation descendant of Yi Sam-pyeong. This exclusive tour will appeal not only to devoted pottery enthusiasts, but to anyone with an appreciation for Japanese arts and crafts.