Hasami-cho, Higashisonogi-gun, Nagasaki Prefecture is known throughout Japan for its production of Hasami-ware Pottery. In the last two articles, we covered Hasami’s history and how it was passed on. This time, we had a chance to learn about community development from Mr. Yoshiteru Kobayashi, who is the executive director of Saikai Toki Co., Ltd.
※This article is sponsored by SAIKAI TOKI TRADING, written by JapanMade editorial team
A City not just to visit, but a city to stay
Hasami is a city close to Saga and Fukuoka prefecture with many interesting pottery events. More than 300,000 people come and visit these festivals, but they had one thing in concern. The visitors were able to hang and buy Hasami-ware while studying the culture, but there were a lack of places where they can actually stay and enjoy for the whole day.
Mr. Kobayashi thought the city needed 3 things in order for the visitors to stay longer. A place to stay, a place to eat, and a place to enjoy. He started taking part in building the community a few years ago. With these 3 things in mind, the Hasami-ware cultural restaurant “Shikisha”, Hotel Bliss Villa Hasami, and Hasami hot spring “Yujiro” was born.
Feeling The Connections
“Shikisha”, which is a Hasami-ware cultural restaurant, is built from a former pottery manufacturing workshop. Mr. Kobayashi’s relatives used to run the workshop, and it was one of the oldest pottery manufacturing site in Nakaoyama. The kiln used for burning porcelain and ceramics is now revamped to cook pizza and they serve food from local ingredients.
Hasami is not facing the sea so we felt like serving sashimi wasn’t the right idea. Nor do we do stock farming so meat-based dishes didn’t really click also. That is why we serve dishes that the locals eat in their everyday lives.
The local dish mainly consists of vegetables and it’s assortment in color shows us it’s healthy and unique food culture.
“Yujiro” is a natural hot spring that is popular for it’s skin care effect. It is a minute walk from Hotel Bliss Villa Hasami and will heal your body from travel fatigue. One thing that is unique about this hotel is that they have a tea-ceremony room and you can enjoy the traditional Japanese tea, while using Hasami-ware.
While we were interviewing and filming the city, a local citizen gave us persimmons. The people we met during our stay were generous and very welcoming. This is one of the beautiful parts of this city and we felt the unity in the community.
Community Building and It’s Raison D’etre
Many new shops appeared recently and the city seems to be livened up, but Mr. Kobayashi states their goal is not to be a tourism powerhouse.
“We are not trying to make a fortune by having a few million visitors. We aim for the people living here, especially the seniors to connect and have an interaction with the visitors and find happiness in life. I hope that interaction is what makes the city alive.”
Over tourism is one of the concerns people have while the government puts effort into Inbound tourism. Even though Hasami aims to increase its number of tourists, their goals are always set for the people of Hasami. Hasami’s challenge towards building a new culture while making the most out of their history and tradition is the true form of regional revitalization.
Hasami Pt.4: Hasami, a City to Experience and Enjoy