- 幸楽窯 徳永陶磁器株式会社 / Kouraku Kiln
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In a colossal warehouse in Saga Prefecture, over 100,000 articles of unsold Arita porcelain are packed into boxes and shelves, waiting for somebody to come and buy them.
As traditional Japanese porcelain wares existing since the 1600s, you’d think they’re on the pricey range. Not the ones in the Kouraku Kiln warehouse, though — you can get a basketful of whatever items you desire, for just 5,000 yen (44.40 USD).
Kouraku Kiln, located in the city of Arita and founded in 1865, has been producing Arita porcelain for over 150 years. From a huge tunnel kiln 30 meters long (98 feet), myriads of beautiful ceramic pieces have been churned out of the factory and into the hands of customers throughout Japan.
But not all items make it out of the warehouse, and over time, thousands of ceramic pieces have accumulated. In an effort to lessen their stock, the warehouse is now offering a Treasure Hunting tour where you can venture into the depths of the warehouse to find the perfect Arita porcelain items.
After a tour of the factory (with a tour guide that speaks 5 languages), you are given a flashlight, basket, gloves, and 90 minutes to explore the warehouse. You can fill up your basket with as many items as you can fit, all of which can be taken home in the end.
There are so many items to look through that even the workers don’t know what you might dig up. Many are old ceramic pieces that can no longer be reproduced, and many others are timeless articles that are still widely popular today.
If you’re eager to participate, you will have to call to make reservations, as they only take 10 people per day. You can choose between the 5,000 yen course or the 10,000 yen (88.98 USD) course, both of which will last around 2 hours.
After the treasure hunt is over, the treasures are wrapped up in newspaper and placed in a box to take home. In the case that lugging the box around isn’t a viable option, you can have them delivered straight home.
Source: Kouraku Kiln
It’s quite a distance from Tokyo, but just 5,000 yen for as many beautiful Arita porcelain you can fit inside a basket is like a dream come true.
Address: 2512 Maruo, Arita, Saga
Contact: 090-8351-4121 or 0955-42-4121