[雲仙市] [小浜] ジャカランダ [英]


Jacarandas were planted in Obama Hot Springs around 1968. Kichima Suetsugu, a native of Kuchinotsu town and a government advisor in Ethiopia, sent seeds to his friend Jinjirō Kusano (former mayor of Obama Town) and asked him to plant them. They are now planted along National Route 57 in Obama where the area is now known and loved as ‘Jacaranda Street’.

The jacaranda, a subtropical plant, grows large in the hot-spring town of Obama and they have now become a seasonal feature of the rainy season, with the best time to see them being around June. The large, purple petals have a subtle fragrance that attracts visitors. In recent years, the ‘Obama Hot Springs Jacaranda Festival’ has also been held.


[雲仙市] [小浜] 小浜歴史資料館 [英]

Obama Historical Museum

The museum stands on a small hill overlooking the hot spring steam in the Obama hot spring area. The Honda Yudayū Residence, built in 1844, introduces the achievements of Honda Yudayū, who laid the foundations for the development of Obama Hot Springs.

‘Yudayū’ was the title given by the Shimabara Clan for the management of the hot springs. The Honda family has contributed to the development of Obama Hot Springs by investing private funds in hot spring facilities, while passing them on from generation to generation.
More information is available on the Unzen City website:


[雲仙市] [小浜] 小浜公会堂 [英]

Obama Public Hall

Built in 1934 (Shōwa 9), when Unzen became a national park. It is the oldest surviving wooden community centre in Nagasaki Prefecture. It is a partly wooden, two-storey building (approx. 570 sq m). The building is well preserved, with a light blue retro appearance, and is a very valuable historical symbol close at hand, used by local residents for sports, meetings, events and other activities.

Due to its age, renovation work was carried out based on existing drawings and other documents. The roof, walls and floors were refurbished to a form close to that of the original building, and the wooden-framed windows were also restored. The full restoration was completed in August 2010.

An application is required to use the building.

Unzen City website:(https://www.city.unzen.nagasaki.jp/kiji0032545/index.html


karatsu P33-P34 [en]

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Nagoya Castle Ruins
(National Special Historic Site)
1931-3 Nagoya, Chinzei-machi, Karatsu city.
Free viewing

Golden Tea Room
(Inside Saga Prefectural Nagoya Castle Museum)
1931-3 Nagoya, Chinzei-machi, Karatsu city.
Free viewing

Karatsu Kunchi
(UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage)
3-13 Minamijounai, Karatsu City (Karatsu Shrine)
Held from November 2nd to 4th every year
Free viewing

Rainbow Matsubara
(National Special Scenic Spot)
From Higashikaratsu to Hamatama-machi , Karatsu City
Free viewing

Nakazato Tarouemon Tobo
3-6-29 Cyoda, Karatsu city

5-9-2 Cyoda, Karatsu city

GALLERY Ichibankan
(Karatsu Ware Gallery)
1807 Gofukumachi, Karatsu city

Mizuno Ryokan
4-50 Higashijounai, Karatsu city

4333-1 Mirukashi, Karatsu city

1-5 Higashijounai, Karatsu city

885-1 Torisu, Hamatama-machi, Karatsu city

2530 Ukikami, Karatsu city

2972-6 Uki, Karatsu city

Karatsu Sakamoto
1-1-1935 Honmachi, Karatsu City
*Scheduled to open in June 2024

279 Hirano, Kyuragi-machi, Karatsu City

Yukikogama ・ Karatsurobata
800-1 Higashiyamada, Hamatama-machi, Karatsu City

1F 1783 Kyomachi, Karatsu City

4838-20 Mirukashi, Karatsu City

Yuichi Yokota
*Store being prepared

1288 Nagoya, Chinzei-machi, Karatsu City

732 Kagami, Karatsu City

1608-2 Yokotashimo, Hamatama-machi, Karatsu City

karatsu P25-P32 [en]

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Live Squid Sashimi

Food: Mizuno Ryokan / Kenichiro Tachibana.
Vessel: Ryutagama / Takashi Nakazato, Taki Nakazato , Kenta Nakazato.

A long-established inn that welcomes you with samurai residence gate was relocated from the Nagoya Castle built 400 years ago. Karatsu and Yobuko are famous for their “Live Squid Sashimi”, and the contrast between the transparent squid and the roughness of the Ryutagama grilled ware is so beautiful. “Tonsan Namasu” (literally “sashimi for the lord”), which is associated with Taiko Hideyoshi, is also a specialty of Mizuno Ryokan.

Charcoal-Grilled Saga Beef and Sesame Tofu

Food: Chosetsuan / Takuya Sasaki.
Vessel: Torisugama / Masahiro Kishida.

Just like listening to the sound of snow, owner listened to the silent voice of his customers and respond to them with careful work. Sesame seeds ground in a mortar and slow-roasted Saga Beef. The dishes served in delicate and dignified Torisugama vessels express the chef’s philosophy.

Rolled Japanese-Style Omelet.

Food: Inaba / Katsuyoshi Inaba.
Vessel: Mitohgama / Rui Mitou.

Rolled Japanese-Style Omelet is simple yet has a strong presence, made by the owner who has extensive training in Kaiseki. We use a special soba soup that is a blend of several different soup stock. The beautiful and gentle yellow omelet blends perfectly into the soft-textured pottery created by Rui Mitou of Mitougama.

Karatsu’s Mukozuke

Food: Karatsu Sakamotoya / Ryo Sakamoto.
Vessel: Sakureigama / Sakurei Okamoto.

What the chef sensed from the abalone-shaped Chosenkaratsu bowl with its beautiful contrast of black and white was the elegance and generosity typical of Sakurei Okamoto. The ingredients that the chef naturally found were from the sea in Karatsu. This is a product that was created naturally and as it is, without any decoration, with the heart in mind.


Food: Karats Robata / Eiji Tsuchiya
Vessel: Yukikogama / Yukiko Tsuchiya

Seafood from Karatsu, home-grown shiitake mushrooms, sansho pepper, mitsuba leaves, and vinegared lotus, are all carefully selected ingredients, sprinkled over sushi rice. The “Akanekaratsu” pottery is Yukikogma’s unique glaze, named after the sunset sky, and brings a sense of peace to the dining table. The owner is a chef and his wife is a potter, and together they create a warm space.

Squid Salsa

Food : Tamatori / Mai Ito.
Vessel: monohanako / Hanako Nakazato.

When you see this vessel, you can tell who made it. When you look at the plate named Chakra, Hanako’s face comes to mind. I hear a voice saying, “Make it as you like!”. Freshly fried squid and sauce. The arrangement takes place naturally. The owner said that she would be happy, if people saw this dish and said “Tamatori”.

Earth and sea
“Spanish Mackerel Poire”

Food: Yuichi Yokota.
Vessel: Tonoyamagama / Naoto Yano.

The glaze poured onto a flat plate lose its place and floats on the surface of the vessel like a calm sea. Croquettes made from mackerel and mackerel belly caught by the owner himself. Crepes mixed with seaweed are inspired by waves and served with clam sauce. A single dish that expresses the energy of the flavors of the earth and sea.

Salt Rice Ball

Food: Arutokoro / Sunao Hirakawa
Vessel: Kentarogama / Kentaro Murayama

A pure white triangular rice ball held with exquisite care. There is a theory that rice balls imitate the shape of the mountain where the gods dwell, and that by eating them, people sought to gain the power of the gods. These rice balls are served in a dignified bowl made by Kentarogama’s Madarakaratsu.

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karatsu P11-P24 [en]

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A Dream within a Dream

“All that Remain of Warriors’ dreams”. Hizen Nagoya Castle Ruins is a vast site with only stone walls remaining. Famous military commanders from all over the country gathered in Nagoya, and at its peak, as many as 200,000 people lived there. The purpose was to invade Korea and then the Ming Dynasty. The golden tea room was once built here by Sen no Rikyu, who mastered the tea ceremony, and was commissioned by Taiko Toyotomi Hideyoshi to astonish even envoys from the continent.

The potters brought here from the land of unfulfilled dreams passed on their superior pottery techniques and laid the foundation for Karatsu Ware. “A Dream within a dream” is a line from Hideyoshi’s death poem.

Karatsu Scenery

Karatsu Kunchi (festival)
Karatsu Kunchi is the annual autumn festival of Karatsu Shrine, held from November 2nd to 4th every year. On the occasion of Otabisho Shinko on the 3rd, the sight of 14 gorgeous floats pulled into the white sand and pulled out with the sea and pine forest in the background is a sight to behold. It is a moment that condenses the “Beauty of Karatsu”.

Niji no Matsubara (pine forest)
The pine tree is also an impressive design in Ekaratsu. About 400 years ago, the pine forest was planted by Hirotaka Terasawa, the lord of the Karatsu domain, to protect it from sea breezes and blowing sand. The pine forest stretches for 2 ri (about 8km,but currently 4.5km)and is famous as the largest pine forest in Japan. It is called Rainbow Matsubara because of its length and the way it curves along Karatsu Bay. This is truly the beauty of white sand and green pine trees.

Visiting the Lives of Potters in Karatsu

Text・8 and 2 Editing room

If you leave the south exit of Karatsu Station and walk for about 10 minutes, you will find the pottery. The Nakazato Taroemon Tobo, which created today’s Karatsu Ware, stands quietly in the center of Karatsu town. There are also ruins of a climbing kiln nearby, and you can see the history of the tradition of pottery in this area since ancient times.

Another pottery is located on a hill overlooking Niji no Matsubara and sea from Mt. Kagamiyama. A certain pottery is located near the sea. A certain pottery is quietly located in a residential area. Then another pottery manufacturer built a kiln in a place surrounded by deep greenery deep in the countryside.

Many pottery production areas have clusters of potteries, such as Arita and Imari, but Karatsu’s approximately 70 potteries are scattered throughout the vast city. There are various reasons for this, such as ancestral land or arriving in search of soil, but Karatsu Ware artist choose the best place to make pottery and create a place to express themselves. Furthermore, rather than division of labor, there is a culture where a single pottery carries out the entire process from kneading the clay to firing and, in some cases, finding the soil, digging, and preparing the soil with his own hands, which is why the individuality of the artist is so evident in Karatsu Ware.

However, rather than being an artist who creates perfect things with his own hands, he is generous in leaving the final product in the hands of others, as exemplified by the philosophy of Karatsu Ware, which is “80% on the makers, 20% on the users”. This is the artist’s looseness in a good sense, and their richness as human beings is also reflected in the vessels they create.

Karatsu’s artists enjoy food and drinks by preparing fresh local ingredients from Karatsu, and serving them on dishes they have made themselves. In other words, they are experts in living in Karatsu.


It is coated with a cloudy glaze mixed with ashes from straw, etc. It is given the name Madarakaratsu because blue and black speckles on its milky white surface. Also known as Shirokaratsu, it has a simple yet deep expression, and many matcha bowls and choko(sake) cups are also made from it.


It is a representative example of Karatsu Ware, which is said to be the first in Japan to be decorated. The pictures are drawn using Oniita (an iron solution), then covered with a transparent glaze and fired. The subjects are plants, flowers, birds, geometric patterns, etc. that are familiar to the creator, and while they are simple and delicate, they also have a powerful expression that makes them attractive.


It is fired using a black glaze that contains a lot of iron. Depending on the amount of iron contained in the soil and rocks used and the degree of oxidation, the color can vary from amber to brown to deep black. Even if you say it’s black, it produces a wide range of colors and is collectively called Kurokaratsu.


It is an inherited technique from Richo Mishima in Korea. Production began in Karatsu during the Edo period, but similar types can be found in production areas through Japan. Patterns such as seals and line carvings are applied to a semi-dry base, then covered with clay, glazed, and fired.

(Plain color)

It is baked with a wood ash glaze. Due to chemical changes in the iron contained in the fuel ash and fabric, the oxidizing flame produces a light yellowish brown color, which is called “Yellowkaratsu”. When exposed to reduction flame, it develops a blue color and is called “Aokaratsu”. The glaze that flows easily and collects on the inside of the vessel is also one of the highlights.

(Korean style)

By using two types of glazes, iron glaze and ash glaze, and firing them at high temperatures, the glazes naturally blend together, creating a picture that can be enjoyed. It is characterized by delicate colors and a variety of expressions, such as blue, purple, and yellow, which are created at the boundaries between glazes. You can often see a black colored iron glaze on the bottom and a milky white gray glaze on top.

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karatsu P1-P10 [en]

Kara no tsu

The northernmost point of Kyushu. As the name suggests, Karatsu is a port (Tsu) town heading towards China (Kara). Karatsu is close to the Korean Peninsula and has developed by being one of the first to accept people, goods, and culture from mainland China.

It has a long history, and many ruins remain, including Japan’s oldest rice paddies from the late Jomon period (about 4,000 – 3,500 years ago). In the Chinese history book “Gishiwajinden”, it was written as Matsurokoku, and it is also the origin of the word Matsuura, which refers to this region. It also appears in the “Manyoshu” and “The Tale of Genji” and has been the subject of numerous poems.

Karatsu’s pottery culture is said to have begun in the Muromachi period (1336 – 1573) due to interaction with the continent. It is said that during the Sengoku period(about 1467 – about1615), Toyotomi Hideyoshi sent troops to Korea, which led to a major evolution and the creation of Karatsu Ware.

It prospered as a coal shipping port from the late Edo period to the Showa period(about 1818 – about 1969), and while it retains the atmosphere of a castle town, it has a harmonious mix of modern the Meiji and Taisho (1868 – 1926) architecture and the retro Showa (1926 – 1989) shopping street.

Karatsu is not only s seaside town with rich food and scenic beauty, but also a culturally rich town blessed with castles, Karatsu Kunchi (festival), Niji no Matsubara (pine forest), Karatsu Ware, and other resources that have been preserved over many eras.

Freediver Jacques Mayol, known for his role in the movie “Grand Blue” was also fascinated by Karatsu and visited Karatsu many times.

Karatsu is connected to the rest of the world and has flourished in a variety of cultures, with layers of strata overlapping each era, and new discoveries and encounters await each time you visit.

Old Karatsu Ware

It was during the Momoyama period (1568 – 1600) that technological innovations occurred in the simple pottery that was baked near Mt. KishidaKe (the south of Karatsu). When Japan invaded Korea, the Korean potters they brought back with them passed on the cotinent’s latest technology. Karatsu Ware, which has become rich in style and variety, is loved by many tea masters and cultural people, and the word “Ichiido, Niraku, Sankaratsu” in the ranking of matcha bowls (Ido Ware is the best, Raku Ware is the second best and Karatsu Ware is the third best).

Karatsu Ware declined for a while, but due to the revival of old Karatsu techniques by Muan Nakazato, there are now 70 potteries working together to support the tradition and innovation of Karatsu Ware.

80% on the makers , 20% on the users

As you use it, cracks in the glaze start to emerge like patterns (penetration). It also proves that the completion of the work is entrusted to the creator and the user.

There is a saying in Karatsu Ware that says, “80% on the makers, 20% on the users”. The philosophy of Karatsu Ware is that the maker leaves a 20% blank space, and that the piece is truly completed when it is used. As you grow it over time, the soil color changes beautifully. Because it is purposefully not made into a finished product, the user will create your own complete Karatsu Ware, which becomes a one-of-a-kind vessel and reflects your individuality.

Beauty of Use

Simple lines in calm colors, Karatsu Ware may seem like an unassuming pottery at first glance. However, its true value is complete only after, the food is served, and the flowers are arranged. Overflowing with the warmth of the earth, its simple and strong texture blends seamlessly into your daily life, naturally complementing your food, and the food itself complements the tableware.

A vessel that becomes complete with use. It’s very modern. Karatsu Ware, which has continued to evolve with the user in mind, is both traditional and cutting-edge.

Life and Vessels

Text ・ Hisako Namekata

When you look at something at first glance, it may appear to shine brightly, as if it has life, even though it is just an object. Perhaps love at first sight is a moment like this. On the other hands, there are times when I suddenly fall in love with the things around me that seem to be in a rut, and I think that today they look even more beautiful than usual. Then, even though it was always a normal thing, by having warm feelings similar to love, I feel like they are also showing me that it is something special. Happy mutual love. It may be just my imagination, but in any case, having at least one thing around you in your daily life that you feel is special will increase the amount of time, you feel satisfied.

I think it’s also a blessing to be able to find a beautiful way to remove something “HAZUSHI” in your life, or find a good gap “SUKIMA” in your life. I have always felt that people with good taste are those who can control the width of their choices. You can only do this because you know the correct answer, and once you have decided and armed yourself with it, there is no more space left. The most beautiful thing may not be something extravagant, made by a famous artist, or made with advanced technology, but what you need. I feel that things that can be used freely, and freely are more useful in daily life. Even if you can’t put it into words, it’s okay if you feel. Whether it’s with person or with others, writing down a comfortable relationship with the person you’re dealing with will beautifully cultivate your days and your heart.

The origins of life are all found in nature, and nature is present in everything that humans create, even if the expressions and techniques are different. Vessels are indispensable for the most important act of human life, which is eating. We make vessels using soil and stones dug from the earth, and place the blessings of life we receive from nature on them. Vessels created with hands and hearts, connect humans and nature. Furthermore, vessels can bloom new flowers through cultural exchange. Vessels create relationships between people and allow people and nature to circulate. When you think about this, the role of pottery in your daily life becomes even more important.

In particular unlike Karatsu Ware, which is still mass-produced even today, the artist himself goes into the mountains to dig the soil and make the clay. The glaze is also often made from natural materials such as wood and straw, making it similar to plant dyeing. One of the characteristics of this work is that many artists carry out the entire process themselves, from making the clay to delivering it to the customer. Perhaps because everything is born from the earth and is made with the full blessings of nature, it seems like you can see the scenery of nature in the vessels themselves. One of the charms of these works is that they combine dignity of being made from rough clay, but I feel that the characteristics of each artist is often clearly expressed in the form of “HAZUSHI”. The more you know about it, the deeper it gets, and the gaps “SUKIMA” are like a swamp that you can’t easily escape from, so I hope you’ll get involved with it wholeheartedly.

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