Ontayaki

In late winter, we ventured out into the mountains between Nakatsu and Hita.  There is a tiny village called Onta that is famous for earthenware called Ontayaki.  As you walk around, it gives you a sense that the sole purpose of the town is to create this pottery. You can see the red clay smokestacks contrasted against the blue sky, along with the rows of ceramic dishes laid out for sale.  You can hear the splashing of the water in the creek, punctuated by the steady thumping of the wood, and clay mills pounded rocks into raw materials.  The air feels cool and crisp, typical of a late winter’s day and seems cleaner as the altitude increases. The ambiance is quite peaceful, fitting for a mountain village.

Ontayaki plates
Chestnuts on ceramics

On this particular day, a small amount of snow had fallen and was quickly melting away.  The only snow left was in the shade and a tiny snowman on the railing of a bridge.  Also, Spring was near so there were some tiny flowers in bloom just outside one of the shops.  We believe they are from a yellow mimosa tree.

A flowering bush

Wikipedia describes the process see at Onta.

Also, that it is an official government “Intangible Cultural Property” and a has a 100 Soundscape of Japan designation.

A climbing kiln
Pottery

Onta is 20 minutes from the town Hita, which is about 1 hour from Nakatsu. 

See the map below

Hita also has a historical town and is famous for the Girl’s day celebration on March 3rd, many fruits that can be picked and a large historical sake factory.