Ceramics can be broadly divided into porcelain and pottery.
Porcelain uses a finer clay than pottery and is fired at a higher temperature; it is hard and has a smooth surface.
Pottery can be further subdivided into that which has been glazed and stoneware that is unglazed.
Different combinations of glazes and clays mean that an infinite variety of surfaces can be achieved in pottery.
Historically, the main types of pottery are Karatsu ware, Hagi ware, Oribe ware, Shino ware, and Shigaraki ware, each possessing different textures and uses.
If you visit a traditional pottery area, you will find large numbers of craftsmen working at their kilns.
Imari is a famous type of porcelain and its delicate designs in cobalt blue are refreshing to the eye.
It has been produced in the city of Arita, Saga Prefecture, since the Edo period(1603-1868), the beauty of its decoration making it highly sought after both in Japanand abroad.
The main items produced are tableware: noodle cups, miniature plates, large plates, small plates, long plates, side dishes, and the like.
It is possible to find tasteful examples of these in antique shops or antique fairs.