Have you ever been to Kyushu island which is located south west in Japan?
“Kyu” of Kyushu island means nine. There used to be nine provinces in Kyushu Island back in Edo period. Now the island consists of seven prefecture and Saga prefecture is one of them next to Fukuoka prefecture.
In Saga prefecture, there are spots of scenic beauty, excellent hot springs, delicious beef whose quality is equivalent to Kobe beef (for much lower price) and famous potteries, Karatsu Pottery.
There are almost 70 potteries in Karatsu city in Saga prefecture. Karatsu pottery was produced in 1580 in Azuchi Momoyama period. Hideyoshi Toyotomi brought the pottery technique from Korea after the Mongolian Invasion (1274 & 1281) and that boosted the production quantity to spread Karatsu pottery to Kyoto and Osaka which was the capital of Japan back then.
Tea masters also loved Karatsu pottery and the pottery were used for tea ceremonies in many places.
When Edo period was over, Karatsu pottery lost its protection by the government and rapidly slowed down. However, it was come back by a living national treasure, Muan Nakazato (1895-1985).
Using coarse cray, Karatsu pottery shows its simple but powerful figures. The art of Karatsu potteries complete when foods or tea are placed on the potteries.
There are some kinds of Karatsu potteries;
Madara Karatsu (with cloudy straw ash glaze, it has small blue or black dots.)
Black Karatsu (with glaze which contains much iron.) It turns out to be black, amber or brown according to its quantity of iron or oxidation.
Korean Karatsu (using two kinds of glaze, iron base and straw ash base, bake it at extra high temperature.)
In Karatsu, there are events and classes to make potteries by yourself. You can create your own masterpiece.
In Karatsu, there are more to see and enjoy in addition to Karatsu pottery.
Beautiful scenery with the ocean and mountains.
I cannot pass their local squids which are so fresh that it looks transparent .
Saga beef which you should really try.
Saga prefecture is the green part of Japan in this map. It takes about two hours to go there by airplane. It doesn’t look bad, does it?
Photos are from Karatsu Kanko Association (website)
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