Historic Porcelain Warehouse Opens to the Public for 'Treasure Hunts'

flor, Vimeo
flor, Vimeo / flor, Vimeo

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, make sure to add a visit to the Koraku Kiln in Arita to your to-do list. Founded in 1865, Koraku Kiln has been producing ceramics for over a century and a half. Over the years, the kiln has developed into something of a Japanese institution: a nearby former elementary school has been converted into guest lodgings, and the kiln takes pride in fully immersing visitors in the craft of pottery-making, teaching guests to make their own decorative ceramics. But while Koraku’s active workshop is impressive, the destination's most spectacular feature might be its vast warehouse.

Spoon & Tamago reports that the warehouse is so immense, employees sometimes bike from one end to the other—and they’ve completely lost track of what’s in there. In order to free up some space, Koraku Kiln is now inviting visitors to participate in “treasure hunts,” which range in price from about $45 for a basic visit to about $90 for access to more elaborate ceramics.

Every day, 10 lucky visitors will get a chance to spend 90 minutes exploring the kiln and filling shopping baskets with as many ceramics as they can grab. It’s essentially a supermarket sweep for delicate ceramics, turning antique shopping into an extreme sport. The hunts will provide an opportunity for visitors to discover a range of long-forgotten ceramics and hidden items. They'll even be given a pair of gloves and a flashlight in order to fully investigate the warehouses's dustiest nooks and crannies. Check out the video (in Japanese) below to get a sense of the vast scale of the Koraku Kiln warehouse.

[h/t Spoon & Tamago]