The origins of Arita ware date back to the end of the 17th century. The potter, Li Sanpei who discovered porcelain stone at Mount Arita Izumi, in Saga prefecture. The porcelain that was subsequently made there was the first to be produced anywhere in Japan. Today as in the past, many fine pieces of Japanese and Western tableware are being produced along side some decorative items. Inevitably, however, it is the brilliance of the enamels and the beautiful white surfaces as well as its practicality, which continue to characterize Japan's most famous porcelain.