Porcelain is made from a clay that requires a particular mixture of minerals, including kaolin and feldspar. These were found naturally together, in just the right ratio, in Arita at Izumiyama Quarry.
Porcelain was in high demand and the Japanese soon found that it was a profitable commodity for export. Although the kilns in Arita lay at the heart of the porcelain production, the port from which the porcelain was shipped was called Imari and some Arita ware is known by this name.
At first, the only decoration was in blue underglaze, and pieces in this style were called shoki-imari (Early Imari) wares. Once overglaze polychrome enamel decoration had been perfected in the 1640s, the Kakiemon style predominated. In the late 17th century Kinrande, or gold-painted decoration, was introduced. Today, Arita predominately produces tableware for domestic consumption.