Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, the weather was forecast for rain.
We woke up and it was cloudy but not quite raining...yet.
Breakfast was at the hotel's buffet and it was pretty sad, even the coffee was bad.
On the other hand, Satoshi, who eats just about anything, made a field day of the buffet...sigh.
So, after "breakfast", we had planned to catch the bus to Ookawachiyama, a pottery village.
There was about an hour before the bus, and since it was only 15 minutes away by car, we took a taxi out there because it was still only cloudy and looked like the weather would hold up a little longer.
It was a good call.
We had the whole village to ourselves, no other crazy tourists running around, just us.
The village was created for the Korean potters that Nabeshima-yaki (Nabeshima pottery) makers had brought over to help them make their wares.
To ensure that no one leaked techniques or items, everyone used to be checked as they came or left the village.
Of course, all the shops were closed (because it was so early in the morning), but just to see the different types of pottery in their window displays were interesting enough to us.
There was even a ceramic chime at the entrance of the village which I videoed, you can watch it here if you wish.
By the time the bus we were supposed to be on arrived, it was pouring.
We hopped on the bus and took it back to our hotel.
When we arrived back in town, the rain had stopped and we picked up some snacks from Etoile Horie for our train ride to Arita.
It is about a 30 minute ride by train from Imari to Arita.
The rain had started again but that didn't stop us.
We walked about 20 minutes from the Matsuura Railway Arita station to have lunch at Honjin.
A group of restaurants were serving an Arita-yaki Gozen.
Arita-yaki is a high quality white porcelain. Gozen is a polite form for the word meal.
The meals are served in Arita-yaki and showcase Arita chicken and local vegetables.
Click on the photo to see what we had.
To participate in this the restaurants had to follow specific rules:
1) each had to call their set, "Arita-yaki gozen"
2) they have to use Arita chicken
3) each set had to have a grilled dish, a vinegar marinated dish, a simmered dish, a steamed dish and a fried dish.
4) all dishes have to be served in Arita-yaki and served in the gozen style
5) each set should have rice from Arita and godoufu. Also dessert and other items should be made from as many local products as possible. If coffee or tea is served, it should be served in Arita-yaki as well.
6) each set should be served with the same chopstick wrappers with the "Arita-yaki Gozen" logo on it.
7) each set should be priced at 1200 yen (tax included).
Whew! enough rules for you?!
Godoufu is a local tofu made from soy milk and kuzu (arrowroot). It is different from standard tofu as salt lye (nigari) isn't used. The texture is quite thick and sticky.
Dessert was a rich pudding and we also had a nice cup of coffee.
The lunch was delicious and it was nice to get out from the rain.
One of the sights we checked out were the Tonbai walls.
Remember the sweet we had in Imari? It was made to look like these walls.
The tonbai walls are made from old kilns, tools used to make pottery & fragments of old pottery as well. The word "tonbai" means the inner wall of the kiln in Japanese.
During the Edo period, there were many shops all over the town, the kilns were located away from the main streets to protect the secrets of how they made the pottery and were surrounded by these tonbai walls.
A nice treat we found in Arita were these Hamaemon cookies made by Yoshinaga Kaho.
Made to look like "hama", the things they use to put pieces on when firing them in the kiln, these shortbread cookies were tasty and very sturdy.
I bought their coconut and cardamom flavored cookies...so good!
Our shoes were soaked, the rain was off and on and we were on our way to Ureshino.
1-1-12 Naka no hara
Arita-cho, Nishimatsuura-gun, Saga
Lunch: 11:30-15:30, Dinner: 17:00-19:30 by reservations only
Arita-cho, Nishimatsuura-gun, Saga
p.s. it's Friday here, have a nice weekend!