After a bit of an "off the beaten path" experience from what other tourists might get in Japan, but still want to embrace the culture, art, and quirkiness this country has to offer? If you're prepared to travel a little, Saga Prefecture is a great spot to check out - particularly the areas of Ureshino and Arita. The towns are known for their onsens and their pottery - and there are some unique ways of embracing these elements!
Bathe in a teacup
If you're renowned for your pottery and your onsen, then why not combine them, right? There's a place in Ureshino where you can enjoy a long relaxing soak in beautifully designed, adult sized tea cups! The ryokan is called Toukai, and as well as their incredibly ornate baths, they also offer delicious kaiseki meals with local produce - including dishes made with their very well regarded Saga Beef! You can find Toukai at the map address below.
Check out some of the prefecture's trademark pottery
A good spot to check out if you're interested is the Kyushu Ceramic Museum. The museum here showcases pottery from all over Kyushu, and best of all admission is free! There is pottery showcased here from the Edo Period, all the way through to contemporary pieces. The museum can be located at the map address below.
Visit the Arita Porcelain Park
Looking more like you've been transported to Europe than in Japan, the Arita Porcelain Park is a must visit if you're in the area. There is a replica of Germany's Zwinger Palace here, as well as exhibitions on both European and Arita style pottery, a European styled garden, and an ancient kiln to check out. The grandeur of the palace replica alone is worth checking out. Hopefully if you are looking for some different (and perhaps relatively unknown outside of Japan) places to add to your travel itinerary, these spots in Saga might fit the bill!