Near the Kyushu city of Fukuoka in Japan, Nokonoshima invites you to indulge in the natural beauty and rich cultural tapestry it weaves. This article unveils the island’s sunflower allure in August and the mesmerising craft of traditional Japanese tea cup pottery.
The Allure of Nokonoshima
Nokonoshima, a serene island near Fukuoka, embodies Japan’s unparalleled beauty and cultural depth. Engage with its August blooming sunflowers and immerse in creating your Japanese pottery masterpiece, specifically the traditional tea cups.
Nokonoshima Flower Park
The Flower Park on Nokonoshima is a canvas painted with vibrant hues and diverse flora, with the spotlight-stealing sunflowers in August. Amidst summer, these towering sunflowers, embody the sun’s vitality, stretch and bloom, creating a mesmerising yellow sea.
Visitors are welcomed from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a minimal entrance fee, promising a day steeped in nature’s allure. August, the sunflower’s peak blooming season, is unequivocally the optimal time for a visit, allowing engagement with these radiant blossoms at their finest.
Engage with Nature: Activities in the Flower Park
Beyond sunflowers, the park’s botanical diversity offers seasonal surprises, compelling for exploration and admiration. Engage in delightful activities, from tranquil flower viewing to rejuvenating picnics amidst the blooms, encapsulating the quintessence of connecting with nature.
- Rapeseed: late February to mid-April
- Cherry blossoms: end of March to beginning of April
- Livingstone daisy: Late March to early May
- Poppy: early March to early May
- Rhododendron: April
- Marigold: late April to late July
- Hydrangea: June
- Plumed cockscomb: July to August
- Dahlia: June, September
- Sunflowers: late July to late August
- Cockspur coral tree: mid-June to early July
- Bougainvillea: mid-July to late November
- Scarlet sage: August to early December
- Cosmos: early October to early November
- Oxalis: late November to late February
- Japanese narcissus: January to early February
- Camellia sasanqua: December to early February
- Japanese camellia: January to February
- Plum: early February to early March
Unveiling the Artisinal Village
Delving deeper into Nokonoshima’s allure reveals a village in the flower garden pulsating with tradition and artistic endeavour. Rooted in history, the village continues to echo the timeless artisanal crafts, including pottery and offering hands-on experiences for visitors, spotlighting the creation of traditional Japanese tea cups.
Crafting Your Own Pottery
There was a potter in the village offering visitors a chance to make their own tea cups – I could not refuse. I find traditional Japanese tea cups to be a thing of beauty and it was amazing to create one myself.
The process started with a conversation about what exactly I would like the outcome to be. We talked about the shape of the cup, the shape of the handle and how I wanted the lip of the cup to be. Then we started with a simple lump of wet clay. In a combination of English and Japanese, the potter walked me through the steps of forming the clay into the right shape. It took many holding my hands in various positions while controlling the speed of the potter’s wheel.
In the end, I was left with an unfired, unglazed cup that I was very happy with. It was about twice the size of the resulting cup. Afterwards, I left the cup with him for firing and glazing.
This was the final product:
If you decide to create a cup like this, you are not able to take it home with you. Because it takes time to fire and glaze them, they instead have you fill in a Japan Post shipping form. They say that it can take up to 3 months for you to receive your cup. We received ours in about 1.5 months.
As I was living in Fukkuoka at the time of creating this cup, I am not sure if they are able to ship internationally. I would recommend asking first. The potter and his wife run the shop and workshop and the potter’s English is passable, so you should be able to make yourself understood if you use simple English. If you speak Japanese, even better!
If you have any trouble with Japanese (e.g. writing Kanji), they are happy to help you with that.
Other Attractions on Nokonoshima
Beyond the sunflower fields and pottery workshops, Nokonoshima cradles other attractions steeped in cultural significance and natural beauty. There are people who live on the island, so there are restaurants, cafés and stores, especially near the harbour area.
Nokonoshima (as well as the rest of Fukoka Bay) also has many nice beaches where you can spend a day on the sand or in the water relaxing. Be warned that at certain times of the year, jellyfish are very prevalent. While they are not deadly, you will probably find their sting to be painful in the best case.
Reaching Nokonoshima is simple, with various transportation options seamlessly connecting the island with the mainland. There are direct buses to the ferry port from both Hakata and Tenjin. The ferry also runs twice an hour in both directions, although on Sundays it is somewhat reduced. Accommodation on the island ranges from quaint inns to comfortable hotels, promising a restful stay. Arm yourself with this travel information, preparing for a journey of blooming sunflowers and pottery magic on Nokonoshima.
Nokonoshima whispers tales of blooming sunflowers in August and the entrancing craft of traditional Japanese tea cup pottery. Each visit promises not just visual delight with radiant sunflowers but also dance with clay, crafting memories and tea cups steeped in tradition and personal essence. The island awaits, with its canvas of nature and culture ready to enchant, engage, and inspire every visitor stepping on its shores.
Thanks for reading! Want to do some more exploring? Have a look at the travel map:
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